A surrogacy arrangement occurs where a child is carried by, and born to, a surrogate mother in order to assist a couple, either heterosexual or same sex, married or cohabiting, who otherwise could not have a child of their own. This procedure is becoming increasingly common and our team has particular expertise in this area
In order to enter an arrangement, each one of the couple who seek to have a child through surrogacy must be over 18 years of age, and they must either be spouses, civil partners or cohabitants. They are termed the “intended parents”. The surrogate mother is the woman who carries the child to be delivered to the intended parents at birth.
Partial surrogacy involves the surrogate mother providing the egg, with the sperm from the intended father fertilising that egg. Full surrogacy, otherwise “host surrogacy”, involves an arrangement where the surrogate mother has no genetic link with the child. She gestates embryos created from the eggs and sperm of the intended parents, or the sperm of the intended father, and donor eggs.
In order for the intended parents to be put in exactly the same position, in law, as if the child was born to them naturally an application must be made to the court for Parental Orders to be granted in favour of the intended parents.
The application for Parental Orders must be made no less than six weeks after the birth, but no more than within six months of the birth.
It is sensible for the intended parents and the surrogate mother to enter into an agreement between the two of them also to include the surrogate mother’s husband, if she is married.
After the child is born and within the time limit stated above, a Petition seeking Parental Orders for the intended parents requires to be lodged at the relevant Sheriff Court. Once Parental Orders are granted, the Registrar will create a Parental Order certificate.
If for any reason the application for Parental Orders is unsuccessful, alternative legal steps may be taken to fortify the position of the intended parents, like adoption for example.
Please contact a member of our expert team on 0131 226 6541 or 0141 332 5666 for advice on surrogacy matters.
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