Surrogacy abroad: Guidance to help British nationals

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More and more British people are opting for surrogacy abroad. But the process can be complicated. People encounter issues when trying to collect babies, some find out that fraudulent documents have been used and others underestimate the amount of time the whole process will take. To help, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Home Office in the UK has issued guidance to make the process easier.

The guide contains a number of clear and concrete recommendations to assist prospective parents prepare for surrogacy abroad and continue with their journey successfully. The guide covers many of the important aspects that those want to use surrogacy abroad should consider.

If you are thinking about surrogacy abroad then this guide may help you.

What’s in the guide?

The sections covered include:

  • An overview to help set the scene
  • Information about surrogacy clinics and hospitals
  • British nationality and passport facilities
  • Information regarding when the surrogate mother is single
  • Information regarding a surrogate mother who is married
  • Parental rights
  • Registering your child’s birth with the British Embassy
  • Legal advice
  • Specific Indian visa, entry and exit clearance requirements
  • A disclaimer
  • A list of documents required to apply for passport without registration
  • A list of documents required when registering your child as a British national
  • British High Commission in New Delhi’s standard letter for medical visa applications covering page for applications to register a child born through surrogacy

Using nationally registered surrogacy clinics

No specific hospitals or clinics are recommended in the guide. But, important features are emphasized to help protect the interests of the commissioning parents (the ones using surrogacy) and the interests of the child.

For example, they highlight that surrogacy clinics can be registered with national authorities in some countries. They stress that commissioning parents research potential clinics thoroughly.

UK parental order

Also, the short, fixed period in which the commissioning parents can apply for a UK parental order is highlighted. Plus, the surrogate must give consent for paternity to be signed over to the commissioning parents. But, this consent can only be given after the child is six weeks old and parental orders cannot be applied for after the child is six months old. So this time period is key to keep in mind.

Married surrogates and passport applications

The guidance also highlights that a child born to a foreign surrogate who is married may not automatically be entitled to British nationality. As a consequence, commissioning parents may need to provide evidence that the surrogate is single. A passport for the child may need to be submitted.

Specialist legal advice about surrogacy abroad

In essence, the guide includes a number of recommendations that may assist commissioning parents in accessing surrogacy abroad in the midst of what is sometimes described as confusing legislation.  Perhaps also important to keep in mind is that authorities have expressed concerns that current legislation is behind the times when it comes to surrogacy abroad and is not always sufficient in protecting the parents or the interests of the child.

Also, it pays to remember that procedures and legislation are always subject to change, so the best option may be to seek specialist legal advice before anyone travels to another country to make any surrogacy arrangements abroad.

The information provided in the guidance and in this post was correct at the time of its issue.

Image | Jean Philippe-Boulet

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