You MUST always review the gov.uk website for current sanctions to ensure that you are not engaging in prohibited activities.
When dealing with agents / doctors / surrogates abroad please check the names of all parties in your arrangement (agents, agency owners, associated companies, admin, doctors and surrogates) on – The UK Sanctions List – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
If the name is on the list YOU MUST NOT PROCEED. Breaching UK government sanctions is a criminal offence.
It is important to do extensive research and get full legal advice before embarking upon surrogacy abroad independent of any agency/charity that you are working with. Your marital status and gender can dictate the options available to you and in some cases, leave you exposed to exploitation. Whichever country you go to, it is essential to ensure that you comply with the law. Do not rely on any agency/charity to advise you of the law. Take your own independent legal advice from a lawyer not connected with the charity/agency. I cannot assist you if you have not acted in good faith and complied with the law in every country that is part of your arrangement.
There is an increase in multi jurisdiction surrogacy arrangements. For example, medical treatment, embryo transfer and birth in different locations with a ‘travelling’ surrogate. These can be a genuine attempt to reduce the cost of the arrangement i.e. medical treatment being cheaper but, can also be to circumvent the law. These arrangements are very high risk firstly, because part of the arrangement may be to circumvent the law and secondly, because if something goes wrong, there is no clear legal pathway for you or your surrogate to seek a remedy. You must consider the law in all destinations related to the arrangement including where the surrogate lives, where the embryo transfer takes place and where the birth will be.
Check the agency / clinic registrations thoroughly and never agree to cash payments or payments to third parties. Be alert to Human Trafficking at all times but particularly, when working with surrogates who are travelling to another country. Speak to your surrogate directly to ascertain her reasons for wanting to be your surrogate and ensure that she is not being pressured or exploited. You must not to sign up to an agreement where your surrogate is anonymous or, if contact is not permitted right from the start of the process. A good agency will always be transparent about how and why a surrogate has decided to work with them.
Ultimately, you need to satisfy yourself that your surrogate is not being exploited and ask the relevant questions. Exploitation and misinformation will certainly lead to problems for you. There should be clear and transparent communication with your surrogate right from the beginning.
You need to make sure that you are legal parents in the country where the surrogacy / birth takes place. A surrogate (and her husband/wife) cannot transfer legal parentage to you without the legal framework in place allowing her to do so.
In order to secure a Parental Order you must show that you acted in good faith and did not attempt to circumvent any laws here or abroad. The onus is on you to ask relevant questions at all times to make sure that exploitation does not take place. I advise that you have private discussions with your surrogate and hire an independent interpreter where necessary. If you do not do this, you risk serious misunderstandings between you and the surrogate. This can lead to difficulties as happened in the controversial ‘Baby Gammy’ case in Thailand in 2014. Avoiding exploitation must be absolute priority when doing your due diligence. I can give suggestions on how to do this.
Regardless of the law in the destination chosen, the surrogate is always the legal mother. Whether one of you is the legal parent will depend on the circumstances surrounding the insemination or embryo transfer. Also whether the surrogate is married or in a civil partnership. It is essential that you get advice before you start the process and preferably before you select the surrogate. I will advise you on whether you can become legal parent(s) and also how to return to England. I will then provide a bespoke service for you to obtain a Parental Order. A Parental Order extinguishes the legal rights that the surrogate and her husband/Partner have for the child and makes you the legal parent(s). I will work with you to ensure that all of the necessary paperwork is in place for the Parental Order process to be applied for within the deadline.
Please call me for independent advice on surrogacy. I do not work with or for, any agency or charity so my advice is completely independent.
Read my testimonials to see what other couples say about me.
I provide independent legal advice on surrogacy based on the law in England and Wales.
I will not recommend any surrogacy provider, destination, agency, or clinic.
I will not take part in any negotiations for your surrogacy arrangement nor, will I review your surrogacy contract.
A successful arrangement for someone else will not always mean a successful arrangement for you. You must always do your own thorough due diligence on any agency, clinic or destination.
The decision to proceed with any agency, clinic or destination will be your sole decision. I will advise on the legality of your decision.