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Under UK Law, the surrogate mother is the legal mother of the child and, if she is married or has entered into a civil partnership, then her spouse or civil partner will be regarded as the second legal parent of the child (unless it can be proved that he / she didn’t consent to the surrogacy arrangement). This is the case even if the intended parents are the biological parents and even if the child has been born abroad and the intended parents are already named on their child’s foreign birth certificate.
In order to transfer legal parentage, the intended parents must apply for a Parental Order. As well as transferring legal parentage to the intended parents, a Parental Order also permanently extinguishes the legal parentage of the surrogate and her spouse. The child’s birth will be re-registered to record both intended parents as the legal parents and a new birth certificate will be issued. The original birth certificate will be sealed as part of the Parental Order Register and will be available only to the child once he or she is over 18.
The Court can only make a Parental Order if the Court is satisfied that the Order is in the child’s best interests and provided certain criteria are met (set out under s54 HEFA 2008), which are as follows:
See our separate blog on surrogacy which outlines the court process for applying for a Parental Order.