In the High Court case of A & B (No 2 -Parental Order)  EWHC 2080, an English couple were seeking a parental order for their twin daughters after a misunderstanding of the law relating to foreign surrogacy.
The couple had paid £16,000 to an agency in India, a sum that the court agreed was reasonable for the expenses of the pregnancy of the surrogate mother. They had ensured their names were on the birth certificates as the mother and father, in addition to signing the consent forms needed under Indian Law. However, the couple was unaware of the English Law governing foreign surrogacy, specifically the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. This legislation requires a parental order in England before a couple can be recognised as the legal mother and father. This should be completed within six months of the birth of the child.
The court was convinced the parents had acted in good faith, co-operating with the English and Indian authorities throughout the process. The question before the court was whether they should give a broad interpretation of the legislation and extend the six month period to allow the couple to apply for a parental order. In order to fulfil the objective of the act by protecting the welfare of the children, who in this case had known no other family; the six month period was extended. Parental orders were issued in relation to both of the girls, despite the fact the parents are separating; they are now to focus on an arrangement for the custody of the children.
To read the full judgement England and Wales High Court (Family Division) Decisions.