Adoption & Surrogacy Solicitors

When you are looking to start or extend your family we can assist you in considering your options and the best way of protecting your family by listening to your needs and priorities. Our team are able to advise married or cohabiting couples, couples in civil partnerships, and single people on the numerous options available, including:

  • Adoption
  • Surrogacy
  • Sperm Donation
  • Co-Parenting

The decision ultimately lies with you and your personal preference/circumstances. While there are several options available to you, you may need to consider the following factors which apply however you decide to create your family.

Adoption

Children are eligible for adoption if, they are under the age of 18 and have never been married. On adoption a child becomes a full family member (as if they had been born to their adoptive parent or parents).

To adopt a child, you must be both:

  • Over 21
  • Able to provide a permanent, caring and stable home

You can apply to adopt a child whatever your sexuality, religion or race and whether you are single or married. Since January 2006, unmarried couples are also able to adopt a child jointly.

Surrogacy

Surrogacy takes two forms:

  • Often referred to as the “traditional” surrogacy arrangement the birth mother carries the child and her egg is used.
  • Due to the advances of science host or gestational surrogacy is the second form of surrogacy, and in these circumstances the birth mother has no biological link to the child as a donor egg or the intended mother’s egg is used. This approach is increasingly more popular and has been reported more widely in the press recently.

Surrogacy is governed by clear rules in order to protect all those involved and consequently the law in this area is complex.We recommend that you seek legal advice before embarking on a surrogacy arrangement.

Whichever form of surrogacy you opt for, currently the birth mother is automatically recognised legally as the child’s mother and this is only changed by application and granting of a Parental Order by the Court.Our specialists can guide you through the process of applying for a Parental Order, and represent you at Court.

Sperm and Egg Donation

Whether you are considering donating or you are considering using a donated gamete it is important to know the legal implications and consequences of this.

This is an area of law that has seen many changes, particularly in the last five years and in advising you we can discuss:

  • whether a donor can/will stay anonymous
  • whether a donor has any legal responsibilities for a child
  • advice and guidance should you choose to use a known donor or co-parent

Co-Parenting

Co-parenting is the term used when people choose to raise a child together but are not in a relationship and never intend to be, for example gay male and female friends, or a gay couple and lesbian couple. In those circumstances it is crucial to get advice on:

  • Options for the creation of the child including donation of gametes
  • Legal parenthood; who will be recognised as the child’s parents and who will have parental responsibility?
  • Arrangements for care of the child when he or she is born

​Options for Step Parents

For step-parents, adopting their stepchild is often considered the best first step in securing parental rights. However, a Parental Responsilibity Agreement has been specifically set up to bypass the Court system and instead makes use of a legally binding formal agreement between you and the parent's of your stepchild. This agreement grants you full parental responsibility over your stepchild and can only be given if you are married or in a civil partnership.

Getting in touch 

For more information on any aspect of adoption please email Patrick Mulcare pmulcare@se-law.co.uk or Gemma Davison gdavison@se-law.co.uk. Alternatively you can contact us by telephone on 01295 204000.