It’s that time of year again when the surrogacy community come together to celebrate all things UK surrogacy. The theme this year is children of surrogacy.
When I meet surrogates and intended parents my primary role is to help them understand the legal aspects of their surrogacy plans. We talk about surrogacy agreements, legal parenthood and the parental order process but our discussions don’t just stick to the black letter of the law and we don’t always talk about the adults!
During our meetings, intended parents share their deeply personal and sensitive stories and query how and when they will tell their child about their circumstances of conception. With surrogates, they sometimes share their dilemmas as to whether their desire to help others will have a negative impact on their own family life and children.
As I always say, there are no straightforward answers to these questions but from what I have heard and observed over the years, children are often far more accepting and forward thinking than adults!
Many intended parents are unaware that when they apply for a parental order following their child’s birth (to resolve and transfer legal parenthood), the court is required to assess whether making an order is in their child’s lifelong interest and best interest. This requires a welfare assessment carried out by an officer of CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) and they are always keen to understand how parents will talk to their child about how they were born. Ultimately, it will always be a personal and private decision but research shows that openness and managing conversations in an age appropriate way will likely help your child in the longer term.
Thankfully, there are many professional support organisations and charities that offer information and advice to intended parents and surrogates, The Donor Conception Network is a fantastic example. I’m also pleased to see that further research is being carried out in this area and a report from the Children’s Voices in Surrogacy project is due to be released next year.
Surrogacy involves many decisions and some of them are harder than others. If you have questions, some of those may be answered in our children and family building hub.
If you would like to speak an expert property solicitors regarding any of the above you can contact us via our enquiry form or by telephone on +44 (0)20 3826 7528.