The new guidance (available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/surrogacy-overseas) sets out the rules on British nationality and immigration, and gives clearer guidance on the procedures parents need to follow to bring a child born through surrogacy abroad home to the UK. In practice, we know on the ground that parents can wait up to 5 months to get the paperwork they need to travel back to the UK after a child is born as a result of an international surrogacy arrangement, so careful planning is key.
The guidance also highlights the need for parents to look beyond the immediate issue of getting home and ensure they do not miss the strict six month deadline for applying to the family court to become the legal parents in the UK. UK law does not recognise foreign birth certificates in surrogacy cases, and without a parental order granted by the UK court the foreign surrogate and her husband remain the legal parents in the UK. Last year High Court Judge Mrs Justice Theis said: ‘The message needs to go out loud and clear to encourage parental order applications to be made in respect of children born as a result of international surrogacy arrangements, and for them to be made promptly’.
The FCO is urging parents to get legal advice before embarking on international surrogacy. At NGA and Brilliant Beginnings, we are passionate about helping parents planning overseas surrogacy arrangements to get the right information at the outset. Since representing the first parents have an international surrogacy arrangement ratified by the UK court in 2008, we have worked with hundreds of families planning overseas surrogacy arrangements. In 2013, 38% of our new international surrogacy cases involved India, 25% the USA and 7% the Ukraine.
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