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Children: surrogacy, and single people and parental orders (UK)

Published Tuesday, November 28, 2017

This House of Commons Library briefing paper considers surrogacy and parental orders, in particular the current position for single people who are unable to obtain such an order.

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When a child is born to a surrogate mother, a parental order transfers both legal parenthood and “parental responsibility” from the surrogate mother (and her husband, if applicable) to the commissioning parents.

Section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 only allows for (prescribed) couples to apply for a parental order, and not a single person.  The High Court ruled in May 2016 that this was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

In December 2016, the Government confirmed that it would lay a remedial order before Parliament to allow single people to apply for a parental order and so bring the 2008 Act into compliance with the ECHR.

Having initially proposed that the remedial order would be laid “in early 2017”, the current position is that this will happen “shortly” sometime “in the autumn session of Parliament” (the autumn session began on 9 October 2017). The remedial order will be a non-urgent order but will allow retrospective parental order applications by single people.

This note applies to United Kingdom.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8076

Author: Tim Jarrett

Topics: Children and families, Civil partnerships, Cohabitation, Human rights, Marriage

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