We are thrilled to announce success in our long campaign to end discrimination against single parents in UK surrogacy law.
On 3 January 2019, the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Remedial) Order 2018 came into force. This changes UK law to allow single parents to apply for parental orders as well as couples.
Single parents with children born before 3 January 2019 have been given six months to apply for a parental order if they wish to do so (although there may be the possibility to apply late). Single biological parents who have children through surrogacy after 3 January 2019 will be able to apply for parental orders after their children are born in the same way as couples.
Our sister organisation NGA Law challenged the law under the Human Rights Act, representing 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. Declarations of incompatibility with the Human Rights Act are very rare and in response the government sent a remedial order to Parliament to remedy the incompatibility with human rights identified in the case.
The case our team ran was the culmination of years of campaigning for law reform. In 2008, Natalie drafted an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (then proposing to open parental orders to same-sex and unmarried couples as well as different-sex couples) to single parents too. It was debated and rejected, government policy at the time being that surrogacy should only be embarked upon by couples. We are delighted that the government has finally changed that view, conceding that the law discriminates against one particular family form without justification.
You can read more about the story of how this law change came about here.
Find out more about the campaign for single parents through surrogacy.