Surrogacy child made ward of court
The High Court has rejected a father’s request for a parental order and has made the child a ward of the court. In a ruling that may affect single parents in similar circumstances in Bedfordshire, the judge decreed that under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act a single parent of a child that has been born through surrogacy is not entitled to be granted a parental order. The lawyer for the father said that the Act was obsolete and no longer reflected the range of present day family units.
The father of the child had made his surrogacy agreement with a woman in the U.S. where the child was born. He had provided the eggs and used his own sperm for the arrangement and was given parental rights after the child’s birth. In the U.K., however, the law requires that a person applying for parental rights over a child born to a surrogate mother must be in some form of long-term relationship with a partner.
The man’s legal representative presented the argument that this law discriminated against single parents and that it contradicted the European Convention on Human Rights. The judge said that his refusal to grant the parental order was based on the legislation that was enacted by Parliament as it related to single parents. Although the Act allowed the adoption of a child by a single parent, Parliament had made it clear that this could not apply to parental orders for a child that was the result of a surrogacy agreement.
A parental order transfers the legal rights of the surrogate mother to the applicant and may only be granted to someone who is in a relationship with a partner. A solicitor experienced in family legal issues may be able to offer assistance in the proceedings or advise if adoption is a suitable alternative.
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