Surrogacy is the legal arrangement between two parties, consisting of a woman (the surrogate) carrying and delivering a child, only to hand the child and parental rights over to the other party at birth. The Court will then intervene to ensure the anticipated parents have legal custody of the child.
Partial Surrogacy: this is also known as ‘Straight’ or ‘Traditional’ surrogacy. It is when the surrogate donates her eggs, carries, and gives birth to the child. This could be through In-Vitro-Fertilisation or natural conception.
Gestational Surrogacy: this is also known as ‘Total’ surrogacy when the surrogate is not related to the child. This is through In-Vitro-Fertilisation where the embryo of the other party or donor is surgically transferred to the surrogate’s womb.
Regardless, which type the surrogacy procedure is, the surrogate is the legal parent of the child once that child is born. Therefore, it is essential that the arranged parents act and apply for an adoption or parental order to the Court, so they can gain legal custody of the child.
This is suited for the ‘Gestational Surrogacy’ type if the surrogate is not genetically related to the child then the parents are solicited to apply for ‘Parental Order’. The order reassign the legal parental rights to the trusted parents from the surrogate.
This order is suited for the ‘Partial Surrogacy’ type. If the surrogate donated her egg and is therefore biologically linked to the child, then the arranged parents will have to proceed to the Court with an adoption application.
In Northern Ireland, the application may be made within the first 6 months of the child’s birth and before this application is submitted to the Court the child should be in the possession of the arranged parents.
For a successful Surrogacy arrangement, both parties must enter into the agreement with mutual understanding and corresponding intentions for the transfer of the child and legal parental rights to the chosen party at the birth of the child.
If you are thinking about Surrogacy or becoming a surrogate and want further legal advice. Please complete our legal enquiry form provided on this page and we will offer you our expertise.