Couples who pay surrogate mothers could lose right to raise the child – The Guardian UK

Couples who pay surrogate mothers could lose right to raise the child

High court could refuse recognition to people who flout law by paying disproportionate fees to a surrogate mother overseas

Denis Campbell, health correspondent, Monday 5 April 2010 19.40 BST

Childless couples who acquire a baby using a surrogate mother abroad risk not being recognised as its parents in Britain if they flout British law by paying fees, fertility lawyers have warned.

Such payments, which can be as high as £30,000, could lead to those who have made them being refused permission by the high court to become the child’s legal parents, specialist solicitors say.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 allows couples entering into deals with a surrogate mother overseas to pay her only what is allowed here – “expenses reasonably incurred”, such as compensation for time off work, medical bills and living expenses.

But lawyers handling such cases have told the Guardian a growing number of couples are embarking on international surrogacy in places such as India, the US and Ukraine, and that many of them are in effect flouting the law by paying whatever is needed to get a child. This could cause serious problems for them and the children as the high court may not grant a parental order.

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