IVF Babble is a partner of the Fertility Show Manchester this March and we have taken a look at some of the many varied and expert seminars that will be taking place over the two day event
If you are looking at surrogacy, co-parenting or donation as an option for parenthood you need to go to the seminar by leading solicitor, Cara Nuttall, partner at JMW Solicitors in Manchester, who will discuss the legal elements of all three processes.
Cara has been practising family law since 2005 and has worked at JMW since 2016. Her reputation precedes her, having worked on many complex family law cases in the UK and abroad.
Here she talks about the main legal considerations to take into account in surrogacy, co-parenting and donation.
“More people than ever are turning to surrogacy, co-parenting and donation to build their families. Advances in scientific and medical technology, and a change in social attitudes have all lead to an increase in the popularity of such arrangements but trying to decide which is best suited to your individual needs can be confusing, and there are lots of factors to consider.
“It is always crucial to understand the legal implications of each path to parenthood as part of this decision. The law has not always kept up with social and scientific advances and does not always apply in the way common sense would expect.
“Advice tailored to your individual circumstances is important, but there are certain key principles that everyone should consider:
“Following a change in the law relating to surrogacy in December 2018, all three routes are now available to single people, or those in a relationship (whether living together, married or in a Civil Partnership);
“Legal parenthood is conferred strictly by operation of law and does not always follow the intentions of those involved. It is not possible to contract in or out of legal parenthood by agreement or contract. The only way legal parenthood can be removed or re-assigned is by a parental order or adoption order, so it important to make sure the right people will be classed as legal parents from the start.
“In law, the woman who gives birth to the child is always the legal mother, regardless of whether she is biologically related to the child. A child can only have up to two legal parents. Whether the child has a second legal parent, and who that can be, depends on a number of factors including the marital status of the parties and circumstances of conception;
“People other than legal parents can hold parental responsibility for a child, which brings with it the right to make decisions about a child’s upbringing and to acquire information about the child. There are various ways in which PR can be conferred, and it is important to ensure that the people you want to have PR will be eligible to acquire it;
“No written agreement (whether for donation, co-parenting or surrogacy) is legally binding or enforceable on its own, but it is important evidence in the event of a dispute. The process of drafting an agreement also helps make sure everyone shares the same expectations for how everything will work which can help avoid problems further down the line;
“If legal parenthood and parental responsibility are assigned correctly from birth, the court does not usually need to become involved in donation and co-parenting cases. In surrogacy, a court application for a parental order is required, which can only be done after the child is born, but with careful planning this can be a straightforward process;
“It is perfectly common to go abroad for donation or surrogacy, but this can bring additional complications as there is no uniformity of laws internationality. It is crucial to get legal advice in both countries before you enter into an arrangement. You may also need specialist immigration advice to ensure you can bring your baby back into the country and/or your child will have the right to remain in the UK. Sometimes you will have to have legal proceedings in both countries;
“If problems arise, the family court can make decisions about how the child will be raised and what role each of the adults will play.
“With careful preparation and research, problems are rare, and each method can mark a straightforward route to parenthood. There is no substitute for reliable information, tailored to the facts of each individual case to help avoid unintended consequences and complications.”
Cara Nuttall’s seminar will take place on Sunday, March 24 at 10.45am.
To find out more about the show and all the seminars on offer, click here
To book your early bird discounted tickets visit here