Our team has helped married couples, civil partners and single people with surrogacy situations both in the UK and all over the world, including USA, Russia, India and Eastern Europe.
It is very important that you obtain legal advice if you are considering a surrogacy arrangement as, despite what the law may be in the country where your surrogate is, in the UK the legal mother will always be the surrogate and if the surrogate mother is married her partner will be the second legal parent.
We can assist you in changing that so that you become the legal parents and the surrogate’s legal status is extinguished. If your baby is conceived abroad, we can also help you with immigration law as you may need special entry clearance to bring your baby back into the UK following the surrogacy arrangement.
We are aware that surrogacy arrangements can be expensive and we work with our clients to agree a fixed fee service to suit them, be that full representation until the parental order is obtained or by assisting them in preparing their case so that they feel confident to represent themselves at court hearings.
Our specialist team can assist you if you are a parent, co-parent or a donor on the complexities of donor conception.
If you are considering becoming a donor or conceiving with the assistance of a donor it is important you ascertain who will be the legal parents of any child conceived. If the default legal position does not reflect the reality of how the child will be raised then you should make enquiries as to what legal steps you can take to better protect your family.
If you donate your eggs you will have no legal rights to the child as the person carrying the child will be the legal mother. However, the position is not as simple if you are a sperm donor or you intend to use donated sperm. When, where and how the sperm is donated are also important considerations and you could find that the donor has legal rights (when you assumed he would not) or he has no rights in circumstances where you would like him to.
A sperm donor agreement is an agreement between the donor and recipient outlining how the sperm will be used. Most commonly it is used to protect the donor from adverse financial consequences and parental responsibilities by vesting full parental decision making in the recipient. However, it can be prepared in accordance with your wishes and document any agreements reached between the donor and recipient. In our opinion, entering into a donor agreement is particularly important as it invites the donor and recipient to reflect on all the issues donor arrangements can create and forces you to turn your mind to them before any pregnancy.
Co-parenting is the term increasingly used where single people or couples decide to raise a child together outside of a relationship. In those circumstances we advise that you seek legal advice to ensure the appropriate people have parental responsibility and enter into a co-parenting agreement to confirm the arrangements for the child. Again, by turning your mind to all scenarios and eventualities at the outset, hopefully future disputes can be avoided.
We are experienced in helping families legally adopt children both in the UK and abroad, be it from a Hague Convention country or a non-Hague Convention country. The criteria for adopting varies considerably depending on the circumstances and can at times be legally complex. We can assist you with this.
If you are considering adopting from abroad it is important that you keep in mind that it is a criminal offence to move a child for the purposes of adoption. You should always seek legal advice before you take a child out of the country or bring the child into the country, with a view to adopting him/her later.
Adoption is the assumption of full legal and parental responsibility for a child. If an adoption order is made, all ties with the birth family are cut and transferred to the adoptive family. As a result, adoption may not always be the answer but our team can be creative and consider step-parent parental responsibility orders and special guardianship orders if that would be more suitable for your situation.