National fertility awareness week: International surrogacy

Continuing our series of mini-articles for National Fertility Awareness Week, and following our article on surrogacy in the UK, there are further elements to think about in the legal process of surrogacy if you are considering using a foreign surrogate.

Surrogacy laws vary between countries and many couples who wish to become parents via surrogacy are looking to countries with less restrictive procedures in place, for example Ukraine and various US states such as California. It is essential, however, that you are aware of the implications of using a foreign surrogate.

Foreign surrogacy law

There are no international conventions currently in force to govern surrogacy and therefore any orders made abroad are not enforceable in the UK. It is important therefore, that even where an order or arrangement has been agreed abroad, the intended parents still apply for a Parental Order once back in the UK. This is particularly important in countries where the intended parents are allowed to seek an order before the birth of the child, thereby becoming the legal parents before the child is born. This will not change the legal position of the intended parents in the UK and therefore a parental order is still necessary to obtain legal responsibility for the child.

It is also important to note that surrogacy is illegal in some countries and in others it is completely unregulated. If you wish to enter surrogacy agreements abroad, it is wise to look to a country that has reliable legal procedures in place.


Bringing your surrogate child back to the UK can be a complex issue and it is important to seek advice on immigration issues that may arise on entering the UK from the country of the child’s birth.

See also  The never-ending chaos of motherhood

It is important to ensure that the child will be given permission to enter the UK on arrival, especially as the UK Border Agency may have additional entry requirements.

The Lester Aldridge family team deal with these and other issues on a regular basis and are frequently instructed by clients with disputes relating to the arrangements for their children.

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About Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP is a nationally recognised law firm with offices in London, Bournemouth and Southampton. The family team are leaders in their field. Jane, Jo and Rosie are specialist family solicitors with a wealth of experience in all areas of family law from divorce to children, prenuptial agreements to the settlement of financial disputes and everything in between. These women are feisty when they need to be. But their approach is designed to reduce conflict in order to ensure the best possible outcome. They recognise that family issues can be extremely emotional and they offer access to specialist advice delivered in a friendly, approachable and understandable way designed to guide you from start to finish. If you would like an informal, no-obligation chat with Jane, Jo or Rosie please telephone 03300 539754.