Surrogacy law for single parents

Until recently, U.K. law discriminated against parents through surrogacy who were single. However on 3 January 2019 new law came into force making parental orders (which give parenthood to the intended parents after the birth and extinguish the status of the surrogate) available to single parents as well as to couples. To apply, single parents need to be their child’s biological parent, which we know continues to exclude some single parents, particularly single mothers. However other creative legal solutions may be available depending on your situation.

The law change followed our successful ten-year campaign to win rights for single parents through surrogacy. In 2008 our founder Natalie Gamble drafted an amendment to the law which was debated in Parliament but unfortunately blocked by the government. In 2015/2016 we challenged the law in court, representing the single father of a boy through US surrogacy in the case of Re Z (2016). The High Court made a declaration that the law was incompatible with the Human Rights Act as it discriminated against single parents. A remedial order was introduced to Parliament by the government in November 2017 to address this, and the new law for single parents came into force in January 2019. You can read more about the history of how this law change has come about from our blog 

Single dads
UK surrogacy is now possible for single dads, just as it is for couples.  Find out more about UK surrogacy law.

Many single dads still go overseas for surrogacy, usually to the US or Canada.  If your child is born outside the UK, you will need to navigate British nationality and immigration law succcessfully to ensure your child has a permanent right to live in the UK.  

You should also take steps to secure your legal status in the UK (since UK law treats your surrogate as the mother, and her spouse as the other parent, and may not not give you parental responsibility, even if you are the legal father). In most cases a parental order will be the appropriate application.

Mum with baby wearing sunglassesSingle mums
The surrogate, rather than you, will be the legal mother of your child (even if you are the biological mother and even if you are named as the mother on a foreign birth certificate). Find out more about UK legal parenthood.  If your child is born outside the UK, find out more about securing British nationality and the documentation you will need to travel home.

The law change has helped single mothers who are able to use their own eggs (or sperm if they are transgender) but unfortunately excludes many single mums who need to conceive with the help of an egg and sperm donor.  However, we have helped forge creative alternative legal paths for single mums through surrogacy.


Have we answered your question? Would you like advice on your personal circumstances?

Email us at or call on 020 3701 5915 and we will explain how we can help.