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Surrogacy in Scotland

There can be a variety of circumstances where a couple may consider surrogacy. In the UK, surrogacy itself is a legal and frequently used procedure and there are some well established surrogacy agencies, although these are unregulated. It is, however, illegal in the UK for money or other benefits to be given or received by either party, other than recompense for reasonable expenses. In other countries, such as America, commercial surrogacy is legal, although it is also usually unregulated.

Complications may arise if a couple in the UK appoint a surrogate mother based abroad, as this can lead to immigration problems when the couple then try to bring the child into the UK, because the child may need a visa. This requires to be investigated, taking legal advice, before the procedures are embarked upon. Thorntons Law can assist with immigration issues.

Frequently asked questions

The following are some of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to surrogacy.

First, some definitions.

  • The intended parents are the couple who wish a child, but cannot create a child between them.  One, or both, of them must have a genetic link to the child.
  • The surrogate mother is the female who carries and bears the child.  If she provides the egg, fertilised by the intended father, she has a genetic link with the child.  If she receives an embryo, and subsequently carries and bears the child, she has no genetic link.  The former arrangement is termed “traditional surrogacy”, while the latter is terms “gestational surrogacy”.


Therefore surrogacy requires one, or both, of the intended parents to have a genetic link with the child.

The task of the lawyer is to place the intended parents in exactly the same legal position as natural parents.  This is achieved by formal legal procedure which seeks for the Court to make “parental orders” in favour of the intended parents.  The effect of parental orders is to remove any legal position the surrogate mother may hold in relation to the child and create the intended parents as the legal parents of the child.  It is vital that the intended parents become the legal parents of the child for a number of reasons.  For example, as legal parents the intended parents have the right and responsibility of making all decisions in relation to the child.  Looking further ahead, the intended parents becoming legal parents has a fundamental effect with regard to succession.

Adoption is a similar procedure where the parents may become the legal parents of a child, where neither has a genetic link to the child.

There are two forms of surrogacy:

  • As explained above, in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is used, making her the genetic mother, fertilised by the intended father.
  • In gestational surrogacy, the egg is provided by the intended mother or a donor, fertilised by the intended father. The egg is fertilised through “in vitro fertilisation” (IVF) and then placed inside the surrogate mother.


Examples of surrogacy include:

  • A family member who agrees to carry a baby for a couple who are relatives, and where the female is unable to carry a child.
  • A married or cohabiting couple who wish to appoint a surrogate mother who is based in the United Kingdom or overseas.
  • A surrogate mother who agrees to carry a child for a same sex male couple.


Surrogacy arrangements at present are not available to single parents of either sex.

This is an agreement between intended parents and the surrogate mother, arranging important details of the surrogacy.

As indicated below it is helpful to have an agreement and some clinics and maternity units require there to be an agreement.

No, but they are extremely helpful, indicating what the parties wish, and requiring the parties to think through some difficult problems which may arise.

Initially, prior to the granting of the parental orders, the surrogate mother will be regarded as the child’s legal mother.  Who the child’s legal father is prior to the granting of parental orders depends upon the details of the arrangement.

How can Thorntons help?

If you are considering surrogacy then it is crucial that you get legal advice from the outset, as the legalities of surrogacy are extremely complex. Thorntons Family Law can guide you through the processes, draft a surrogacy agreement and ensure you know your legal position and options.  Of first importance, Thorntons Family Law can then apply to the Court for parental orders for the intending parents, and follow that specialised process through to a conclusion.

At Thorntons Family Law, we offer an initial free no-obligation chat over the phone to outline your options and the possible costs.

Depending on your case and circumstances, the next step is to come into one of our local offices to meet a Family Law Solicitor about your case and the way forward.

Call us on 03330 430 150 for a chat or contact us to book an appointment.

How much will it cost?

We are always clear to clients about the potential costs of any option and offer a range of payment options. We charge based on the time we spend on your case, including meetings, emails, phone calls and court representations. Depending on your case and circumstances, you may also need to cover outlays, such as court costs or payments to independent experts. We will set out our fees and likely extra costs for you at the start and keep you informed of any possible changes as your case progresses.

Please note we do not offer Legal Aid for this service.

Frequently asked questions

The following are some of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to surrogacy.

First, some definitions.

  • The intended parents are the couple who wish a child, but cannot create a child between them.  One, or both, of them must have a genetic link to the child.
  • The surrogate mother is the female who carries and bears the child.  If she provides the egg, fertilised by the intended father, she has a genetic link with the child.  If she receives an embryo, and subsequently carries and bears the child, she has no genetic link.  The former arrangement is termed “traditional surrogacy”, while the latter is terms “gestational surrogacy”.


Therefore surrogacy requires one, or both, of the intended parents to have a genetic link with the child.

The task of the lawyer is to place the intended parents in exactly the same legal position as natural parents.  This is achieved by formal legal procedure which seeks for the Court to make “parental orders” in favour of the intended parents.  The effect of parental orders is to remove any legal position the surrogate mother may hold in relation to the child and create the intended parents as the legal parents of the child.  It is vital that the intended parents become the legal parents of the child for a number of reasons.  For example, as legal parents the intended parents have the right and responsibility of making all decisions in relation to the child.  Looking further ahead, the intended parents becoming legal parents has a fundamental effect with regard to succession.

Adoption is a similar procedure where the parents may become the legal parents of a child, where neither has a genetic link to the child.

There are two forms of surrogacy:

  • As explained above, in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is used, making her the genetic mother, fertilised by the intended father.
  • In gestational surrogacy, the egg is provided by the intended mother or a donor, fertilised by the intended father. The egg is fertilised through “in vitro fertilisation” (IVF) and then placed inside the surrogate mother.


Examples of surrogacy include:

  • A family member who agrees to carry a baby for a couple who are relatives, and where the female is unable to carry a child.
  • A married or cohabiting couple who wish to appoint a surrogate mother who is based in the United Kingdom or overseas.
  • A surrogate mother who agrees to carry a child for a same sex male couple.


Surrogacy arrangements at present are not available to single parents of either sex.

This is an agreement between intended parents and the surrogate mother, arranging important details of the surrogacy.

As indicated below it is helpful to have an agreement and some clinics and maternity units require there to be an agreement.

No, but they are extremely helpful, indicating what the parties wish, and requiring the parties to think through some difficult problems which may arise.

Initially, prior to the granting of the parental orders, the surrogate mother will be regarded as the child’s legal mother.  Who the child’s legal father is prior to the granting of parental orders depends upon the details of the arrangement.

How can Thorntons help?

If you are considering surrogacy then it is crucial that you get legal advice from the outset, as the legalities of surrogacy are extremely complex. Thorntons Family Law can guide you through the processes, draft a surrogacy agreement and ensure you know your legal position and options.  Of first importance, Thorntons Family Law can then apply to the Court for parental orders for the intending parents, and follow that specialised process through to a conclusion.

At Thorntons Family Law, we offer an initial free no-obligation chat over the phone to outline your options and the possible costs.

Depending on your case and circumstances, the next step is to come into one of our local offices to meet a Family Law Solicitor about your case and the way forward.

Call us on 03330 430 150 for a chat or contact us to book an appointment.

How much will it cost?

We are always clear to clients about the potential costs of any option and offer a range of payment options. We charge based on the time we spend on your case, including meetings, emails, phone calls and court representations. Depending on your case and circumstances, you may also need to cover outlays, such as court costs or payments to independent experts. We will set out our fees and likely extra costs for you at the start and keep you informed of any possible changes as your case progresses.

Please note we do not offer Legal Aid for this service.


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