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 almost always lead to the law being changed. The remedial order sent to Parliament was a direct response to this court ruling, aiming to remedy the incompatibility with human rights identified in the case.
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.
Find out more about the campaign for single parents through surrogacy.