Birth Certificates: How It Works With Surrogacy

06 Jun, 2015

Birth Certificates: How it works with surrogacy

Last year over 150 babies were born in the United Kingdom to surrogate parents. A surrogacy agreement implies that a woman will carry a couple's baby, as they are unable to carry a child themselves, but then have no legal role in the child's upbringing.

As a result there can be three or even four people involved in the pregnancy and birth of a surrogacy baby, including: the birth mother, the biological mother, the biological father and potentially another parent.

With more and more couples turning to surrogacy as a medical option to conceive children, including celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Elton John and Sarah Jessica Parker, it can be confusing figuring out whose names can appear on a child's birth certificate and when.

Is the surrogate or the intended parents the legal parents??

At birth, the surrogate is the legal mother of the child, regardless of if she has a genetic link. This is because according to English law the person who carries the child is given the title of legal guardian.

However, the intended father can be given the right to parenthood if the surrogate mother is single and his biological relationship to the child has been proven. If the surrogate is married then her husband is automatically made the second legal parent to the child, meaning he would go on the birth certificate along with the birth mother.

This is why it is important that a couple either work with a single surrogate or a married surrogate who has a supportive partner who is okay with being named on the certificate.

The same applies if the surrogate is in a gay relationship. The same sex partner will be the other legal parent to the newborn - as long at they were married or civil partnered at the time of conception.

In this situation, either one of neither of the child's raising parent would be on the birth certificate.

Can you change the birth certificate to name the intended parents?

Yes you can. Within six months of the child's birth, the intended parents must apply for a Parental Order. Provided that one of the parents is genetically related to the child; as the egg or sperm donor, and the couple is married or living together, they can then become their child's legal parents.

If all the requirements are met, the birth mother makes written consent and the parents are living in the UK with the child, then the intended parents will be given full rights over the child. A birth certificate will then be re-issued, with their names written as the legal parents.

There are various implications if the parents do not get a new birth certificate with both parents names, for example legally making health decisions concerning their child should they need to. What is important is that it is possible to get the raising parents names on their child's birth certificate, they'll even be able to order copies of the birth certificate with their names on.