This was an application for parental orders for 18 month old twins. The case involved a British couple who had entered into a £22,000 surrogacy agreement in Ukraine where “commercial surrogacy” is permitted. The applicants were in Ukraine for the births but their return to the UK was delayed for six months. More than six weeks after the birth the surrogate mother signed a declaration to confirm she understood that parental rights for the children belonged to the applicants. At this time she also agreed to the children being brought to the UK and being naturalised as British Citizens. Since this point there has been no contact with the surrogate mother, despite attempts to locate and contact her.
The agreement between the applicants and the clinic involved an “all inclusive package”, which meant the applicants only made one payment to cover all aspects of the agreement. Under the agreement there was no limit on the number of embryo transfers, in this case the first embryo transfer was successful. As a result of this type of agreement it is not possible to establish whether the eggs were donor or the surrogate mother’s eggs. There is also uncertainty on the amount which was paid to the surrogate as there was no amount inserted on the agreement.
Mrs Justice Theis stated that the case identifies “difficulties that can be incurred if specialist legal advice is not taken before entering into a foreign surrogacy arrangement”. Therefore, highlighting the need to establish what the financial arrangements are with the surrogate mother, to establish clear lines of communication and make a prompt application for a parental order.