Surrogacy Attorney Diane Hinson of Creative Family Connections
Diane Hinson; Founder, Owner and Senior Partner of Creative Family Connections, a specialist legal firm providing support for anyone going through surrogacy, comments on our lead surrogacy story, and considers the legal complications.
Potential for complications
The recurring theme in Georgios and Alexander’s story through gestational surrogacy is one of unanticipated difficulty and stress.
This is not a case of fault; Georgios did many things right. Yet, by taking on the complex journey of surrogacy on his own, the potential for disaster was inherent there from the start. Like many intended parents, Georgios was simply unaware of the myriad of complications, delays, and risks that are inherent in international surrogacy arrangements if the legal aspects are not expertly managed.
Surrogacy in the UK
Georgios and Alexander couldn’t have predicted that they would end up living in the UK but, to contrast, let’s consider how it might have gone differently for them if they had begun their journey where they ended it - in the UK, and opted to use a Gestational Surrogate in the USA and engaged the help of expert surrogacy lawyers.
In the UK, same-sex couples and single gay dads can build a family through surrogacy but if the surrogate lives in the UK, she cannot be compensated and there is no legal framework to protect the parents’ rights. The intended parents can go abroad and access commercial surrogacy, however they are required to show that they provided only reasonable compensation. There are a host of other requirements, and intended parents are advised to work with specialist legal experts in the USA and UK.
The legal framework in the USA
In the USA, it is lawful for a same-sex couple or single gay dads to use a surrogate – but only in some states. There is no national surrogacy law, so the USA has a patchwork quilt of state laws, as seen on our online surrogacy maps at surrogacymap.com. It is critical, therefore, to find a surrogate-matching agency that is either integrated with lawyers or that works seamlessly with attorneys. Moreover, as the laws are constantly changing, it is of vital importance that your US legal team connects with your UK team to stay current.
If Georgios and Alexander had started their journey in the UK and worked with a law firm/surrogacy agency in the USA, they could have been matched to a surrogate in a state where both dads could be named as the legal parents on the birth certificate – before leaving the US and without any requirement to return periodically to the US for renewal.There would have been close coordination with their legal experts in the UK to put the legal framework in place to allow them to bring their children home, and both parents would have been recognized as the legal parents immediately.
Advice for all intended parents
Fortunately, Georgios and Alexander now have two healthy daughters, and they are finally reunited in one home. Unfortunately, Alexander has yet to obtain his legal rights, and that battle still looms. Creative Family Connections wishes Georgios and Alexander and their beautiful daughters the best of luck, and encourages all intended parents to learn from their story: seek guidance from established legal experts before embarking on your own journey, regardless of where you reside!
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First published in issue 8, summer 2015. To buy issue 8 click here
This article was printed in We Are Family magazine, issue 8, summer 2015. Details may have changed - please do not rely on this information solely when making decisions - do your own research, make your own checks and get legal or health advice as appropriate.