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“Alternative” Families: Adoption and Surrogacy

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This week the media reported CAFCASS’ concern over falling rates of adoption due to the rise of surrogacy and more successful IVF rates, placing the spotlight firmly back on so called “alternative” family life.

There is no doubt that surrogacy arrangements are on the rise and less and less the “alternative” with new government guidance issued earlier this year. The latest CAFCASS figures also show applications to court for parental orders up from 44 to 220 from 2005-2015.

Added to the statistics are increasingly reported celebrity surrogacy success stories, from Robbie Williams and Ayda Field, to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black. Successful IVF rates also seem to climb, along with increased media coverage of pregnancy after age 45, with celebrities such as Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig at the forefront. However, for some adoption is still the right route to create their family and secure the legal rights and welfare of the child and should not be overlooked.

At Allard Bailey, we recognise that adoption and surrogacy are not just legal processes but deeply personal journeys, often following exhaustive conception attempts, or failed IVF. Our specialist solicitors can sensitively guide and advise you on the right legal framework to achieve the rights to protect you and your child. We appreciate that more than ever, in the run up to Christmas and New Year thoughts inevitably turn to family life and plans and hopes for the future.

In the words of Lady Justice King (as was) there are “serious legal and practical difficulties which can arise where men or women, desperate for a child of their own, enter into informal surrogacy arrangements, often in the absence of any counselling or any specialist legal advice.”

If you or anyone you know are considering adoption or surrogacy or you are an intended parent it is critical to get early advice, and here are some reasons why:

To apply for an adoption order or a parental order: Both orders have “transformative effect” including extinguishing a surrogate parent’s rights.

To be aware of the timeframe: The law requires an application for a parental order in a surrogacy arrangement to be made within 6 months of a child’s birth and UK domicile. We can guide you on some of the permitted extensions under the case law.

If you are single: At the time of writing this blog, it was not possible for a single person to obtain a parental order in UK, but the law changed on 3rd January 2019 and it is now possible.  You can read more here.

Legal Advice

If you would like to speak confidentially to our team of surrogacy lawyers and adoption lawyers, you can call 020 7993 2936 to schedule a no-obligation consultation or make a Contact Request here

Alternatively, you can Get Started Online to receive a Free Confidential Report outlining your position.