Saturday 23 February 2019

Surrogacy Update | What Happens Next?

A lot of people may think that once a surrogate baby is born, then that's it - the complete end of the journey. And whilst, in a sense, it can feel like that, legally it isn't.

Once a surrogate baby is born, then the surrogate and her partner (if married) are the legal parents of the baby until a Parental Order is granted. If a surrogate is married, then both herself and her husband will be named on the babies birth certificate; if not married then the Intended Father can be named on the birth certificate along with the surrogate.
As I am married, both myself and my husband were, and still are, named on the surrogate babies birth certificate. When in hospital, I was required to sign consent forms for the baby to undergo all of the newborn checks - luckily our hospital were amazing and placed a band on the baby with my Intended Mother's details who also had a band herself. This is not done in every hospital and not something we were expecting - we tried our luck by asking the midwives if additional bands with my IM's name could be made up for a memory box. They went one step further and arranged for IM and the baby to have matching bands which we were so happy about. 
I was required to register the baby as normal before 6 weeks and a birth certificate with mine and my husbands details was produced. In order for my IPs to obtain legal parental rights over their own child, they were required to apply for a Parental Order, which can only be done once the baby turns 6 weeks old and must not be applied for later than 6 months after the birth.
In order for anyone to apply for a Parental Order, at least one of the IPs must be genetically related to the child (sperm or egg donor). The baby must also be living with them in the UK. Only recently has changes been made to allow single IPs to apply for the Parental Order which is amazing, although the same rules would apply.
To apply, a C51 application form was completed by my IPs and sent to the local family court where a hearing date will be set. Some cases only require one hearing, some will need two or more; this is all dependent on the court.
We have so far had one court date where we were explained the process. We will have a CAFCASS officer speak to us all to make sure that everything was done above board, my expenses were paid in full and that none of us were forced into surrogacy. Statements from both myself and my husband, along with my IPs will also be presented to the judge.
We have already had a final court date provided to us, however I do have a feeling that this may end up being extended as we have not yet heard from CAFCASS. Hopefully we will soon!
Once the Parental Order is granted, myself and my husband will be removed from the babies birth certificate and a new one will be released with my IPs names on it, thus providing them with full parental responsibility of their own child.
Currently, if they wanted to apply for a passport for their little one, my details would be needed. Also, if the baby needed an operation or life saving treatment, again my consent would be required. Whilst I would never ever object to my consent being given, having parental responsibility over a child which is not mine is not something that I, or my husband, wish to have.
There is currently talks of changing the way in which these orders work and it is being looked at to have these done and completed before the baby is born - this is something that would definitely help as no surrogate wants to have any rights to the baby. 
The whole process usually takes approximately 8 to 9 months, although I have seen cases be completed sooner - here's hoping that ours is the same!


1 comment

  1. This is so interesting to read as has all your surrogacy journey.
    I bet you have been told a million times. You are a wonderful person for doing it x