parentage and citizenship
UK law permits surrogacy but does not recognize a US birth certificate or US Parentage Order/Judgment; a UK Parentage Order is required.
Within 6 months of the birth of the child and upon returning to England, a UK Parentage Order must be sought. This UK Parentage Order is in addition to any parentage order or judgment issued in the United States. The UK Parentage Order terminates the GC's and GC's Husband's parentage rights and establishes the rights of the UK parent(s).
A Parentage Order is available for married and unmarried hetero and same-sex couples, as well as single parents so long as there is at least one bio connection. In addition to the bio connection(s), parents must prove they are (i) from and living in the UK or (ii) domiciled in the UK. As of April 2017, Parentage Order applications are being processed within 6 months of submission.
UK counsel for the parent(s) will require the following documentation for the UK Parentage Order proceedings:
- Original signed Surrogacy Agreement
- PDF of signed Egg Donation Agreement
- Certified US Parentage Judgment/Order
- Conformed Copy of IVF Physician's Affidavit filed in the US Parentage Judgment/Order proceedings
- Conformed Copy of GC's Affidavit filed in the US Parentage Judgment/Order proceedings
- Letter Confirming Legal Position in the state where the GC will deliver
**It is a criminal offense for a UK citizen to adopt a child abroad. Any US judgment establishing parentage should be a pre-birth or post-birth judgment and not an adoption decree or make any reference to an adoption.
GC Matching Criteria / Complex Cases
UK counsel must advise before any match is approved for any clients falling in the following categories:
- No biological connection(s)
- The parent(s) is not currently living in the UK (they may or may not qualify for a UK parental order (this depends on whether they are ‘domiciled’ in the UK, which is complex and depends on their roots and future intentions; if they are not UK domiciled, they will need to secure British nationality via another route)
- The parent(s) is living in the UK but they originate from elsewhere or are not British (they may or may not qualify for a UK parental order (this depends on whether they are ‘domiciled’ in the UK; if they are not UK domiciled they will need an alternative immigration plan and an alternative plan for securing parenting rights in the UK)
- The parent(s) has other nationalities/connections with other countries (they may need advice in those countries if they want to secure nationality for their child there)
**A match involving an unmarried GC does simplify the process for establishing the child(ren)'s UK citizenship.
The US birth certificate should reflect what the parent(s) would like the UK birth certificate to state.
For clarification purposes, a US birth certificate listing a same-sex couple is acceptable.
Returning to the UK / Clearing Immigration
If possible, it is recommended the parent(s) return to the UK via Heathrow, as this airport/staff have experience with surrogacy-related births.
Parent(s) may use either the UK or non-UK immigration line.
Parent(s) should have the following documents with them when clearing immigration:
- US Birth Certificate
- US Parentage Judgment/Order
- Surrogacy Agreement
- Letter from UK Counsel