Becoming a dad for the first time is many things. Exciting. Moving. Nerve-wracking! And one thing it shouldn’t be is complicated. If you are in a same-sex relationship, you will often need a bit of help creating your family, and it no doubt comes with many questions! Here we answer the most asked questions from our clients in a male same-sex couple.
Q: What is the best option for us to create a family, adoption or surrogacy?
The right choice for you always depends on what best suits your family. Adoption and Surrogacy are two of the most common options used by gay couples, and both are legal and valid options. You should always make sure that you do all of your research and understand the legal requirements of both before proceeding.
Q: We have a friend who has offered to be our surrogate. Is this allowed?
Yes, and what a generous gift from your friend. It is important to remember that surrogacy in the UK is currently only permitted on an altruistic basis (so agreeing to do it not for payment) and therefore you should take legal advice about what any payments should look like. Find out more about surrogacy here.
Q: Our friend doesn’t have any fertility problems, so can we just do the arrangement at home?
Whilst this may be biologically possible, we would always recommend doing so via a licenced clinic as you run the risk of not being able to apply for your Parental Order at the end of the day, or it being rejected by the court. This would make the surrogate the legal parent of the child and that might not be what either of you or she wants.
Q: We have had a child through surrogacy, but now the surrogate wants contact with the child but we don’t want that. What do we do?
If you obtain a Parental Order for your child, this will extinguish any parental rights and responsibilities automatically given to the surrogate at birth. This means that technically she is not entitled to contact, however, if it is a relationship you care a lot about we would suggest that you agree to attend mediation to discuss the best way forward. Later in life, your child may wish to know more about how they were created, and so having an open and honest discussion about it will make things easier for you both. We always suggest having detailed discussions and independent legal advice before any surrogacy journey, so that everyone is clear on their expectations post-birth before the process begins.
Q: We want to become co-parents with our friends who are a lesbian couple. Is that allowed?
Yes, entering into a co-parenting agreement is entirely lawful, although comes with a high legal risk as there can only be two legal parents of the child and it all depends on your relationship status.
If this option is the right choice for your family, it is important that you think carefully about the intentions post-conception and to make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. You should only ever enter into a co-parenting arrangement with people you know and trust, and only once you are all clear about the legal implications of doing so. We can assist with drawing up co-parenting agreements.
The top takeaway when using any form of assisted conception is to get legal advice before you embark on your journey so that you know exactly where you stand. This helps you to avoid any pitfalls and let you focus on the exciting part, becoming a parent!