INTERNATIONAL SURROGACY AND ADOPTION
Date posted: 5 March 2018
Our specialist team, led by Amna Khaliq in the family department and Penny Brownbridge in the immigration department will assist you with the legal applications of having a child using a surrogate, prior to and during the legal process of acquiring a Parental Order for your child.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another person or couple. The woman that is carrying the child is known as the surrogate, the parent or parents for whom the child is intended are called the “commissioning parents”.
Generally there are two ways in which a surrogacy agreement takes effect which are as follows:
- Where a child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate mother, this is known as “gestational” or “host” surrogacy; or
- Using the eggs of the surrogate mother and the sperm the commissioning father, this is sometimes known as “traditional” surrogacy.
It is important to be aware that the child has to be genetically related to the commissioning parent/parents, if you have a child with a surrogate mother it is important to be aware that you will not automatically be the child’s legal parents. It will be necessary to make an application to the court for a Parental Order this will then extinguish the surrogate mother’s (and her husband if she is married) parentage, and if the court is satisfied will transfer the parental rights for your child to you.
In order to be able to successfully obtain a Parental Order it is important from the outset to understand the legal requirement and this is something that we can go through with you and set out important steps.
- help prospective commissioning parents with outline advice as to what is involved.
- advise commissioning parents who have taken this step and need assistance in obtaining legal rights and responsibilities for their child.
- strategize to try and overcome difficulties that arise.
- advise on what nationality and status your child will acquire or be entitled to obtain and the related procedure.
Our family and immigration team will work closely together in order to ensure that the legal requirements within the family courts and immigration processes are resolved as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Our specialist team is able to provide assistance and legal representation for parents who are considering, or who have embarked on adoption of a child or children.
We are able to advise on a purely domestic adoption, where a child is placed with them by a Local Authority or UK adoption agency.
We are also able to advise on international adoption. Legally, international adoption is complex and we recommend that before a decision is made to adopt a child from another country prospective adopters take legal advice before taking any steps.
Broadly speaking, if you decide to go ahead with the adoption process as prospective adopters you will need to be assessed by an adoption agency. In England and Wales there is no restriction on same sex couples or single people adopting; some other countries do take a different approach. Therefore, if you are a single person or in a same sex relationship it is advisable to check the rules in the country from which are hoping to adopt from.
The adoption agency will assess you in England and Wales. This is an in-depth assessment where they look at all aspects of your life including personal and professional. The assessment is undertaken with a view as to assessing the ability and resources of the prospective adopters to fulfil the child’s needs.
Once the assessment has been completed the author will conclude as to whether you should be accepted as an adopter. The assessment will be considered by an adoption panel and then by an agency decision maker who will then conclude whether you should be approved.
In the event that you are approved as adopters then the report will be sent to agencies in the country where you hope to adopt so that they can assist in matching a child with you.
As potential adopters it is important to note that overseas adoption is recognised in the UK if the child’s country of origin is signatory to the Hague Convention. In this instance, the legal process for adoption will then take place in the child’s country of origin and not in England and Wales. We can also provide you with immigration advice as it is important to be mindful of the immigration aspect of adoption when adopting a child from overseas.
Where a child is adopted from a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention or on the Designation of Overseas Adoption Order 1973, these adoptions will not be recognised in England and Wales. In this instance, their prospective adopters would need to apply for an Adoption Order in England and Wales having gone through the legal process in the child’s country of origin. We are able to advise you and represent you through this process. It is important to be aware that in this instance the child will not automatically be entitled to British citizenship as this is wholly dependent on whether or not an Adoption Order is made in England and Wales, and is also dependent upon the citizenship of the prospective adoptive parents. Our specialist immigration team will be able to advise you of how and when this can be acquired.