A UK court has granted a British couple legal parenthood of their adult son who was born via surrogacy in California.
British married couple Mr and Mrs X's child – Y – was born in 1998 with the help of their surrogate, Mrs Z. In accordance with California law, Mr and Mrs X, were made the legal parents were listed on Y's US birth certificate, and the family returned to the UK. Mr and Mrs X recently discovered that they were not considered Y's legal parents in the UK because no parental order had been issued by a UK court.
The judge, Mrs Justice Theis, granted the parental order, the first time one has been issued for a person over 18. She said: 'the fact that Y is now an adult does not... preclude the court from making a [parental] order... the HFEA 2008 does not limit such applications being made only in relation to children.'
In her judgment she reflected that, although the application for a parental order fell outside the six-month time limit, the right to family life would be affected if Y was not recognised as the Xs' child. She also noted that if the issue was not rectified, there could be legal implications for inheritance.
Mrs X was unable to carry a pregnancy, so the couple decided to use a Californian surrogate because Californla law allows the intended parents to become legal parents at birth. The embryo was created from Mr and Mrs X's gametes. Y has always been aware that he was born via surrogacy, and the family stayed in close contact with Mrs Z over the years.
'This ruling is an important victory for parents of children born through surrogacy, especially in cases that have taken place overseas historically and where legal parenthood has not been resolved here in the UK,' said solicitor Jade Quirke from the law firm Russell-Cooke.
Mrs X said she hoped the High Court ruling would 'help and encourage other families in a similar position to us to resolve their legal status following historic surrogacy arrangements'.