A happy couple appeared on ITV’s Lorraine a few weeks ago to talk about their baby – born by surrogacy – and their second on the way.
The couple, Jake and Hannah Graf are already loving parents to their baby Millie, who was born in 2020. Millie was born to a surrogate mother called Laura, or as Jake and Hannah describe her, an ‘Angel’.
Delightfully, they are now expecting their second baby, being carried by the same surrogate.
Why is Hannah and Jake’s Story so Important?
The story described above is becoming increasingly common, and to that extent, there should not be anything too remarkable about it.
However, Jake and Hannah have been widely described as Britain’s ‘first transgender parents’.
They’ve seen massive media attention as a result, attention which has largely missed who they are as people and as parents.
Hannah was a high-ranking officer in the British military and came out as a transgender woman in 2013. Before she left for a career in finance, Hannah was the highest-ranking transgender officer in the army.
Jake is a TV director and actor. He’d always wanted to be a father so made the decision to have his eggs frozen before starting the process of transitioning in 2008.
Beyond the headlines, Hannah and Jake carry an important message. Family life isn’t just for heterosexual and cis-gender couples, and surrogacy plays an important part in offering the option of parenthood to people who don’t fit these ‘traditional’ stereotypes.
It may be, of course, that there are tens, hundreds, thousands of parents in Britain who identify as transgender. Some may self-identify and others may carry a formal Gender Recognition Certificate.
As a Family Law Solicitor, I know how difficult it can be for couples who don’t fit the mold of a traditional or ‘nuclear’ family to conceive and raise children of their own.
Although the focus should be on Hannah and Jake’s dedication and love for their children, I’m aware that obstacles unfortunately still exist for transgender couples looking to start a family, which is why I think it’s so important that their story is shared.
If you’re considering surrogacy, our Family Law Team can offer specialist advice and support to help you at each stage of the surrogacy journey.
How Common is Surrogacy?
The number of parents having a baby via surrogacy has almost quadrupled since 2011, and it’s now a feasible and realistic option for many individuals and couples.
It’s also likely that lockdown has given people who were already considering surrogacy the time to reflect, research and pursue having a baby via surrogacy.
How can a Solicitor Help?
We’re thrilled as Family Lawyers that the law can be used as a tool to help gender diverse people start or build their families. A trained Family Solicitor can:
- offer advice on your legal rights;
- apply for a Parental Order which will make you the child’s legal parents;
- represent you in Court;
- resolve any potential disputes.
The law around surrogacy can be complex. This is especially relevant for international surrogacy arrangements where the surrogate lives outside of England or Wales. A Solicitor can support you with careful planning and advice and take some of the stress away at what should be an incredibly joyful time for both parents.
We’re thrilled Hannah and Jake’s surrogacy was a success and they felt confident enough to embark on the process a second time – we wish them all the best for the future.
If you’d like advice about a surrogacy arrangement, Parental Orders or any other aspect of Fertility Law, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’d be delighted to help you.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.