Surrogacy in England: Legal Framework, Process, and Considerations

Surrogacy is a complex and emotionally charged process that involves a surrogate mother carrying and delivering a child for intended parents who are unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy themselves. In England, surrogacy is governed by a legal framework designed to protect the rights and interests of all parties involved, including the surrogate mother, intended parents, and the child. Understanding the legal process, considerations, and implications of surrogacy in England is essential for individuals and couples considering this path to parenthood.

Legal Framework:

Surrogacy in England is regulated by the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985, as amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. The legal framework outlines the requirements and procedures for entering into a surrogacy arrangement and establishing parental rights and responsibilities.

Under English law, the Surrogacy in England is considered the legal mother of the child at birth, regardless of genetic relatedness. To transfer legal parenthood to the intended parents, a parental order must be obtained from the court. The parental order extinguishes the parental rights and responsibilities of the surrogate mother and transfers them to the intended parents, making them the child’s legal parents in the eyes of the law.


The surrogacy process in England typically involves several key steps:

Finding a Surrogate: Intended parents may find a surrogate through a surrogacy agency, a surrogacy support organization, or through personal connections. It is essential to establish a trusting and mutually respectful relationship with the surrogate, as surrogacy involves significant emotional and practical considerations for all parties involved.

Legal Agreements: Once a surrogate is found, the parties involved must enter into a surrogacy agreement outlining their respective rights, responsibilities, and expectations. The agreement should address issues such as parental rights, financial arrangements, medical decisions, and contact arrangements after the birth.

Medical Procedures: Intended parents may choose to use their own genetic material (traditional surrogacy) or donor gametes (gestational surrogacy) to create embryos for transfer to the surrogate. Medical procedures, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), are conducted to facilitate the conception process.

Birth and Parental Order: After the surrogate gives birth, the intended parents can apply to the court for a parental order to transfer legal parenthood from the surrogate to themselves. To be eligible for a parental order, the intended parents must meet certain criteria, including being genetically related to the child, being married, civil partners, or in a long-term relationship, and the surrogate must freely consent to the order.


Before embarking on a surrogacy journey in England, individuals and couples should carefully consider various legal, emotional, and practical considerations:

Legal Advice: It is essential to seek legal advice from a qualified family law solicitor with experience in surrogacy matters to understand the legal implications and requirements of surrogacy in England.

Emotional Preparedness: Surrogacy involves significant emotional investment and can be emotionally challenging for all parties involved. Intended parents and surrogates should be prepared for the emotional highs and lows that may arise throughout the process.

Financial Considerations: Surrogacy can be expensive, involving costs such as medical procedures, legal fees, compensation for the surrogate, and other related expenses. Intended parents should carefully consider the financial implications of surrogacy and plan accordingly.

Relationship Dynamics: Building a trusting and respectful relationship with the surrogate is crucial for the success of the surrogacy arrangement. Clear communication, mutual respect, and empathy are essential for navigating the complexities of surrogacy.

In conclusion, surrogacy in England is a legal and regulated process that provides an option for individuals and couples to build their families. By understanding the legal framework, process, and considerations involved in surrogacy, individuals can make informed decisions and navigate the surrogacy journey with confidence and clarity. With proper legal guidance, emotional support, and careful planning, surrogacy can offer a pathway to parenthood for those unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy themselves.