Parental Orders – how do I obtain one?

A Parental Order will extinguish a surrogate’s legal parentage and grant legal parentage to the intended parents. Without a Parental Order in place, the surrogate will continue to be the child’s legal mother, and the intended parents will not be recognised by the law as being the child’s legal parents.

An application will need to be made within 6 months of a child’s birth.

What is the process?

  1. Firstly, you must submit an application for a Parental Order to court using a form called Form C51.


  1. Your application will need to be served on the surrogate (and her husband, if she is married). Your surrogate will need to seek legal advice in relation to the application, prior to signing her acknowledgment and consent to the granting of the Parental Order.


  1. There will then be a Directions Hearing at Court. The Court will set down standard directions for the filing of witness statements and will assign a Parental Order Reporter to your case. A Parental Order Reporter is a social worker whose role is to investigate the circumstances and advise the Court on whether a Parental Order should be made.


  1. Following the Directions Hearing, you will need to complete and file your witness statement(s) at Court. It is generally a good idea to start work on this prior to the application for a Parental Order being made, as the witness statement(s) need to be extremely detailed and cover the entire background of the surrogacy and detail of how the child is settling in post birth, as well as demonstrating how the Court’s welfare checklist is met (as set out in Section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act).


  1. The Parental Order Reporter’s report is usually due in 6 weeks after the filing of your witness statement(s). The Reporter will likely meet with the intended parents and the subject child of the application.


  1. Following the completion of your witness statement(s) and receipt of the Parental Order Report, you will need to attend a further Court hearing. Provided the Court is satisfied that the legal criteria has been met, they will grant the Parental Order at the final hearing.


  1. Once granted, the Court will send the Parental Order to the General Register Office, who will issue a new birth certificate for the child.


If you seek advice in relation to surrogacy and applying for a Parental Order, please contact us by telephone or email.

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