How can I Protect Myself in a Surrogacy Arrangement?

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Surrogacy has offered the option of being a parent to so many people who never expected they would be able to start a family of their own. It’s not surprising that people become so emotionally invested in the surrogacy process.

But, because surrogacy arrangements are not legally binding in England and Wales, it is also understandable if you feel vulnerable and as though you are pinning all your hopes on a surrogate.

Most surrogacy agreements are successful, but complications can come up so it’s important that you’re prepared to protect yourself should anything go wrong.

In England and Wales, your legal rights as ‘intended parents’ are limited. For example, the surrogate will be the child’s legal parent until this is transferred through a Parental Order.

If the surrogate is married or in a civil partnership, their spouse or civil partner will usually also be the second legal parent. In addition, often the intended parent(s) will not yet have parental responsibility when the child is born and this affects the ability to make decisions on behalf of the child, such as giving consent to certain medical treatment. 

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There are things you can do, however, to reduce the risks involved. We’ll talk through some of these in more detail below. If you’d like initial advice, get in touch with our expert Family Team to find out more about how we can help you.

What if There’s a Disagreement?

Even if you’ve done everything to protect yourself so far, you may still be worried about what might happen if you have a dispute with your surrogate later on in the process.

A lot of intended parents worry that the surrogate may decide they want to keep the baby. This is very rare as the majority of surrogates recognise early on that they are not the mother of the child. But in the unlikely event that a surrogate does change their mind, there is recourse to address this in the Family Court.

The Court will then decide what is in the child’s best interests. Our Family Lawyers can support you and represent you in Court should you find yourself in this situation. Get in touch with one of our team today for specialist legal advice that’s tailored to you.

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