Is surrogacy legal in the UK

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Is surrogacy legal in the UK?

We are frequently asked is surrogacy legal in the UK.  Altruistic surrogacy is legal but commercial surrogacy is not. As British citizens, there is nothing preventing you from entering into a surrogacy arrangement in another destination provided that commercial surrogacy is legal in that destination.   There are also some new destinations following the change of law in India, Nepal and Thailand.

In the UK, altruistic surrogacy is legal.  You may pay ‘reasonable expenses’ to the surrogate.  What constitutes reasonable expenses varies.  Typical expenses include medical expenses, travel to and from clinics, scans, medication, supplements etc.  Often a payment is agreed for the complete arrangement and paid in instalments over 9 months.   A surrogacy agreement is not enforceable in the UK and the intended parents must apply to the court to both become legal parents for the child.  Until then, the surrogate is the legal mother and if she is married or in a civil partnership, her husband/Partner is the second legal parent.

Many couples look abroad for surrogacy because it is difficult to match in the UK and when a match is found, the legal framework is not sufficient to provide IP’s with enough security that they will become the legal parents.

If you are looking abroad, you need to research how you can return home with the child and become legal parents.   Other factors to consider include  cost and duration spent in the destination post birth waiting for the child’s passport.

The decision about where your child should live and who the legal parents are, is determined by legislation in England and not legislation in the destination where the surrogacy takes place.  You need to be sure that you are acting within the law of the destination country.  To be sure of that, get advice from a surrogacy lawyer in the destination.   We can help you by suggesting some lawyers that our clients have worked with in the past.

We are aware of a large and growing underground surrogacy world in the UK where money may be exchanging hands for gametes and a surrogacy arrangement.  Whilst we accept that this is largely due to the lack of legal framework and failure of the UK legal system to protect IP’s and surrogates, we advise that you exercise extreme caution in taking part in such arrangements.  You may be breaking the law.

There are several cases that we have acted on where these types of arrangements have resulted in disagreements and unsatisfactory results for all parties involved.  Often they result in a very sad result for the child born as a result of the arrangement.

Please call our surrogacy lawyers for advice.  ‘Is surrogacy legal in the UK?’  call 01727 884 688 or e-mail Harjit directly on

Do visit our testimonials page to read what our clients say about us.

We provide legal advice on surrogacy based on the law in England.

We will not recommend any surrogacy provider, destination, agency or clinic.   If our advice concludes that you can become legal parents following the arrangement, it should not be considered as advice to proceed. If we have acted for couples who have entered into similar arrangements, you should not take that as advice to proceed.     

We will not take part in any negotiations for your surrogacy arrangement nor, will we review your surrogacy contracts.