What is a Pre-conception Agreement?
A Pre-conception Agreement is a written agreement entered into before a child is conceived, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of each of the child’s biological and intended parents.
They are usually used when a child will be conceived through insemination or surrogacy and both biological parents are known to each other, although not in a romantic relationship.
Do we need one?
We would always recommend that you prepare a formal Pre-conception Agreement as the process itself will help you to reflect on your hopes and expectations, whilst encouraging you to address the more delicate issues that are otherwise easy to avoid.
If you set everything out in writing it will be easy to refer to in the future, which can help you to avoid disputes. Whereas people’s understanding or interpretation of verbal agreements may be different and can often change over time, which can lead to disputes.
Another advantage of a Pre-Conception Agreement is that you will all be equal at the time of drafting, which is more likely to result in an arrangement that is a fair reflection of everyone’s wishes.
What should it cover?
There are no set rules for what an agreement should contain, but it should reflect your vision of how the arrangement will work.
Topics that you may want to address include:
- your practical plans for conception
- the birth including who will be present
- who will have parental responsibility?
- how will you agree on a name? What surname will the child have?
- parenting roles such as who the child will live with and spend time with
- who will have financial responsibility?
- what will happen if parents separate or enter new relationships?
- who will be appointed as guardians?
Who should be included in the agreement?
To ensure all emotional as well as practical concerns about how the arrangement will work can be addressed, it is advisable for the biological parents as well as their respective partners (if appropriate) to be involved in preparing the agreement.
Are they legally binding?
Pre-conception Agreements are not legally binding, which means that if there is a dispute the Court is not bound to enforce them, but they will be considered as evidence. They also provide a starting point for discussions, mediation or negotiation through solicitors, which may enable you to resolve any disputes without involving the Court.
If you are planning to start a family with a donor or become a co-parent and would like legal advice, please contact Louise Allard or Sabrina Bailey on 020 7993 2936.