Please check other pages for information about surrogacy in the US, Canada, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Nigeria, Ukraine and other destinations. These countries are the most popular destinations for surrogacy abroad. When a country prohibits commercial surrogacy, clinics often move to new destinations. In 2015 India, Mexico and Nepal prohibited commercial surrogacy. Some Indian clinics are now opening agencies in Georgia and Ukraine.
If you are in the middle of an arrangement in a banned destination and need advice on how to return to the UK please contact me. I can help with this and helped couples return from Thailand, Mexico and Cambodia.
It is important to do extensive research before embarking upon surrogacy abroad. Do seek advice from me to help you make sure that whatever decision you make is legal in the destination chosen. Your marital status and gender can dictate the options available to you and in some cases can leave you exposed to exploitation.
You are advised to 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. Some agencies have ‘travelling surrogates’ to try and circumvent the law in certain destinations.
Whichever country you go to, it is essential to ensure that you comply with the law here and in the destination(s) where the surrogacy/birth takes place. Do not rely on the agency to advise you of the law. Take your own advice. 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 better surrogacy clinics/agencies will be transparent about surrogate recruitment policy and the compensation paid to the surrogate. 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 you more details on how to do this.
Having conducted surrogacy cases for many years, I am in a good position to advise you of the pitfalls to look out for. I am not an immigration lawyer but I do have experience with the citizenship and passport procedure to get you back to the UK swiftly. I managed to help several couples return to England with Emergency Travel Documents from Georgia and Cyprus during the covid-19 lockdown.
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). If you do not apply for a Parental Order by the time the child is 6 months old, you will need to consider alternatives such as adoption. You may also need to apply for adoption if you separate from the intended parent who is biologically connected or if you find yourself not biologically connected due to a clinic error. 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 surrogacy lawyers for advice on surrogacy.
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I provide legal advice on surrogacy based on the law in England and Wales.
I have acted for clients working with many agencies across the world. I will not recommend any surrogacy provider, destination, agency or clinic. If my advice concludes that you can become legal parents following the arrangement you are considering, it should not be taken as advice to proceed. If I have acted for couples who have entered into similar arrangements, you should not take that as advice to proceed. You must always do your own due diligence on any agency / destination. A successful arrangement for someone else won’t always mean a successful arrangement for you. I will not take part in any negotiations for your surrogacy arrangement nor, will I review your surrogacy contract.