What should you do if you are considering surrogacy? Here’s the info you need.
It’s hard to believe that Tom Daley, the teenage darling of the 2012 Olympics, is all grown up. The UK star diver first came to public attention as the youngest British Olympian at the 2008 Beijing Games but just 10 years later, he is now celebrating beginning a family of his own.
Tom Daley and his husband Dustin Lance Black, the academy award winning screen writer and director of Milk fame, announced on Valentine’s Day that they were expecting a child. The predominately supportive response from the media (we shan’t talk about the Daily Mail here…) and fans is a bright sign of progress in the UK’s slow march towards equality for non-heterosexual couples although much work remains.
The public acknowledgment that a true family is defined by love, respect and commitment is wonderful yet long overdue. The UK legal system, however, stubbornly trails behind the United States when it comes to acknowledging and protecting the many ways to create a family in 2018.
While Daley and Lance Black have understandably not yet revealed any details about their unborn child, there are hints that they at least seriously considered surrogacy which is treated very differently by the law in the UK where the couple live compared to in the US, Dustin’s original home.
Tom recently spoke about the UK’s restrictive surrogacy laws while appearing on Attitude Magazine’s Attitude Heroes podcast in celebration of 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality. He revealed his surprise in learning that commercial surrogacy remains outlawed in the UK even though it is legally protected in large parts of the US.
This discovery was perhaps particularly disappointing because of the perception that the UK is often ahead of the curve compared to the US on important social issues. While surrogacy law differs in countries around the world, Tom’s comments suggest that the couple were mainly comparing surrogacy options in their home countries of the US and the UK.
What does the law say?
- United Kingdom: Commercial surrogacy, i.e. paying a surrogate for carrying your child, is not legal in the UK although surrogates can be compensated for expenses. The surrogate is legally the biological mother of the child, regardless of parentage, until a parental order is granted after birth. Currently, single parents cannot receive a parental order for their own child via surrogacy since they are only available to couples but this is set to change.
- United States: Commercial surrogacy is legal in almost every state although precise regulations vary between different jurisdictions. Some states allow contracts before the child is born that legally acknowledge the child’s intended parents while others do not.
The difference in these laws remains stark but the legal situation varies significantly based on location and law changes on the horizon within the U.K. The legal situation can be confusing, and Tom Daley is far from alone is his surprise at the legal realities of surrogacy in this country.
LexSnap, an innovative online platform for legal advice, has heard from countless people who are looking to have a child and are unsure about the effect of current UK law on the options available to them.
The decision to start a family, in any form, can be a very important milestone. Current UK law means that those who are considering surrogacy can feel like they have been denied control over their family’s future while navigating legal confusion during what should be a joyous and supportive time. The availability of appropriate legal support in a convenient and timely manner can be critical for these couples in making the right choice for their family.
Unfortunately, however, the current legal disparity and confusion means that some couples or single parents feel they must travel abroad to start or expand their family. Although Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black might have been able to afford this additional expense, many other couples could not and it’s ridiculous regardless that there are legal barriers in place that prevent people from starting a family at home.
Want to know more?
There are a number of great resources for people considering surrogacy within the UK. While there are additional legal barriers to surrogacy here, many people would understandably prefer to have their child near home and thus need to understand the legal technicalities.
One option could be to approach a solicitor with your concerns and see if you can plan together the next step for your family.
If you need to find the best specialist and/or prefer to use online resources to get a professional specific and reliable legal advice, LexSnap’s resources are available to you.
Even though there are copious amounts of free legal information on the web, you might prefer to streamline the process and gain access to very affordable but clear and trustworthy advice from registered solicitors in England and Wales. The legal technology platform LexSnap offers a solution. With LexSnap you can have your legal questions answered instantly online from a knowledgebase of expert legal information provided by top tier solicitors on surrogacy and family law matters, which can help you clarify your position with confidence. You can also send your question via the platform to the best family law solicitors in the country or ask for a recommendation to meet the solicitor in person.