Surrogacy in Northern Ireland

Surrogacy Arrangements

Surrogacy is the legal arrangement between two parties, consisting of a woman (the surrogate) carrying and delivering a child, only to hand the child and parental rights over to the other party at birth. The Court will then intervene to ensure the anticipated parents have legal custody of the child.

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Types of Surrogacies

Partial Surrogacy: this is also known as ‘Straight’ or ‘Traditional’ surrogacy. It is when the surrogate donates her eggs, carries, and gives birth to the child. This could be through in vitro fertilisation or natural conception.

Gestational Surrogacy: this is also known as ‘Total’ surrogacy when the surrogate is not related to the child. This is through In-Vitro-Fertilisation where the embryo of the other party or donor is surgically transferred to the surrogate’s womb.

Regardless, of which type the surrogacy procedure is, the surrogate is the legal parent of the child once that child is born. Therefore, it is essential that the arranged parents act and apply for an adoption or parental order to the Court, so they can gain legal custody of the child.

Parental Order:

This is suited for the ‘Gestational Surrogacy’ type if the surrogate is not genetically related to the child then the parents are solicited to apply for ‘Parental Order’. The order reassigns the legal parental rights to the trusted parents from the surrogate.

Adoption Order:

This order is suited for the ‘Partial Surrogacy’ type. If the surrogate donated her egg and is therefore biologically linked to the child, then the arranged parents will have to proceed to the Court with an adoption application.

How We Can Help

At P.A. Duffy and Co our specialist family law solicitors provide legal advice and representation if a local authority has raised concerns about a child’s safety under the care of their parent or guardian.

Our Family Law team promise to handle your case with great sensitivity, and we will hold the child’s best interests as our main priority.


How long do I have to complete the Application?

In Northern Ireland, the application may be made within the first 6 months of the child’s birth and before this application is submitted to the Court the child should be in the possession of the arranged parents.

For a successful Surrogacy arrangement, both parties must enter into the agreement with mutual understanding and corresponding intentions for the transfer of the child and legal parental rights to the chosen party at the birth of the child.

If you are thinking about Surrogacy or becoming a surrogate and want further family legal advice. Please complete our legal enquiry form provided on this page and we will offer you our expertise.

What is involved in the surrogacy process?

It is important to understand that, the child’s birth mother (the surrogate) remains the legal parent of the child until the intended parents obtain a court order, known as a parental order. In the case where the surrogate is married or in a civil partnership, the spouse or civil partner will be the child’s second legal parent until the parental order is in place.

What happens if the surrogacy is disputed?

While it's uncommon for disputes to arise in surrogacy arrangements, in the event of a disagreement, the court will determine parental responsibility and the child's contact with involved adults.

While it's uncommon for disputes to arise in surrogacy arrangements, in the event of a disagreement, the court will determine parental responsibility and the child's contact with involved adults.

Always prioritizing the child's well-being, the court seeks a positive outcome. If you're caught in a surrogacy dispute, we're here to assist you. We can offer guidance on navigating the situation, and provide support for arbitration, mediation, and negotiation, all aimed at reaching a prompt and amicable resolution.

What happens if you get my surrogacy abroad?

It is common for those seeking surrogacy to travel abroad for various reasons including cheaper medical costs, cheaper medical costs, and legal considerations such as being named on the original birth certificate.

However, for those who choose to get their surrogacy abroad, it is key they receive the correct legal advice to ensure all the necessary documentation is in place before they bring the child home.

In certain nations, pre-birth orders can establish legal parenthood for intended parents right from the birth of the child. However, it's important to note that such orders are not acknowledged in England and Wales. Therefore, intended parents will still need to obtain a parental or adoption order to legally confirm their parenthood in their home country.

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