Barrister Nassera Butt from No5 Chambers represented a local surrogate in a partial surrogacy case in July 2013 before Mrs Justice King. The reported case tells of the caution to be applied where the parties have used ‘home’ insemination techniques not regulated by any licensed clinic and have not used specialist legal services for the surrogacy agreement.
The matter had been before the local DFJ in 2010–11 and all parties including the judge had omitted to recognise that the time for the parties to apply for a parental order (six months) to extinguish the surrogate’s parental responsibility had expired.
The case highlights the importance of family practitioners having an understanding of this area of law as, although not routine, it is no longer the exclusive province of lawyers specialising in reproduction and human embryology law.
All the lawyers in the case had to agree an alternative legal remedy to allow the child’s psychological mother to have parental responsibility over that of the surrogate who was the birth, biological and legal mother.
For the first time, in this scenario the only answer was the use of wardship to regulate the surrogate’s parental responsibility.