Registering or changing a record following surrogacy or fertility treatment

If your child is conceived through fertility treatment or a surrogacy agreement, the woman who gives birth to the baby is recorded as the child's mother. This is because the law states that the woman who gives birth to the child is always recognised as the child's mother. The man registered as the father will usually be the husband or partner of the birth mother, regardless of whether he is connected to the child biologically.

For same-sex female partners, a Parenthood Agreement is signed before the mother's fertility treatment begins. This means that the mother's female partner can then be recorded as the baby's parent on the birth certificate. A couple who arranges for a surrogate mother to carry a child for them is called the 'commissioning parents'. The commissioning parents can apply to the courts for the right to re-register the birth and be named as the child's parents. The document they will request from the courts is called a parental order. You should seek legal advice if you wish to apply for a parental order.

When the parental order has been granted, the court will notify the General Register Office, who will then re-register the birth. This new birth record will supersede the original.

You will not need to do anything further unless you would like to order a new birth certificate from the General Register Office. This will show the details of the commissioning parents, and note that they are the parents of the child.

Deceased fathers

If a child is conceived by fertility treatment and the biological father has died before conception, the birth will often be registered without the father's details. It can be re-registered to include the father's details. To do this you will need to contact the General Register Office for further guidance. They will ask you to provide the following:

Recording the man as a child's father in this way does not mean he will be treated in law as the child's father for any purpose other than registration. For example, it does not give the child:

You should seek legal advice from a solicitor for more information.

For more information on treatment services and deceased fathers, visit Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

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