Single parent successfully challenges surrogacy law
The Family Division of the High Court has given a landmark ruling regarding the law of surrogacy.
In a recent case, a child (known as 'Z') was born to an American surrogate mother using the commissioning father's sperm and a donor egg. The commissioning father returned with the child to the UK, but he was not able to apply for a Parental Order as he did not satisfy the criteria that there must be two applicants. As a result, he could not obtain parental responsibility for Z because the surrogate mother was still regarded as the child's mother. The commissioning father's only option appeared to be to apply to adopt Z. However, the commissioning father successfully challenged the law which insists that two people must make an application for a Parental Order. Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division of the High Court, has declared that the existing legislation is incompatible with human rights law, as it discriminates against single commissioning parents.
A Department of Health spokeswoman has said that they accept the judgement of the Court, and will be "looking to update the legislation on parental orders."
This is a fascinating development in the law relating to surrogacy arrangements, and it will be interesting to watch as the law is brought up to speed to reflect the evolving medical science.