We are thrilled to announce success in our campaign to end the discrimination against single parents in UK surrogacy law. In December 2016, the government told the House of Lords that it would, in 'early 2017', introduce a remedial order (a special fast-track route to changing the law) in order to enable single parents, as well as couples, to apply for parental orders if they have a child through surrogacy.
The exact timeframe for the new rules coming into force is not yet known, but we will keep this page updated with news as we have it. At the moment, the best guess is that single parents will be able to apply for parental orders from around July 2017 at the earliest, but that the rules will be retrospective so that single parents with existing children can apply.
Our sister organisation Natalie Gamble Associates challenged the law under the Human Rights Act. They represented a single father through US surrogacy who won a ruling from the President of the High Court Family Division that (in denying the father the ability to apply for a parental order) the current law discriminated unfairly against him and his child. The case was supported by Brilliant Beginnings.
Declarations of incompatibility with the Human Rights Act are very rare, and almost always lead to the law being changed. The government made clear in its announcement to Parliament that it had decided to change the law in response to the court ruling, and to make the law human rights compliant.
Single parents who conceive through surrogacy have long been discriminated against by the law, and denied the legal solution of a parental order which is available to couples who have a child through surrogacy.
Having worked with many single parents through surrogacy, we have been campaigning for years for law reform. In 2008, Natalie drafted an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which would have opened parental order applications to single applicants as well as married and unmarried couples. It was debated and rejected, government policy at the time being that surrogacy was such a serious undertaking that it should be embarked upon only by couples.
We are delighted that the government has finally changed that view, conceding that the law discriminates without justification.