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Parental order time limits: policy – what policy?

Date:15 DEC 2014
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The law in relation to surrogacy has been continually developing since the introduction of the Surrogacy Arrangements Act in 1985. Since the inception of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in 1990 it has always been understood that any application for a parental order, which extinguishes parental responsibility of surrogate parents and transfers it to commissioning parents, must be made within the first six months of a child’s life. The same legal provision was transposed to s 54(3) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (HFEA 2008). However, in the recent decision of Re X (A Child) (Surrogacy: Time limit) EWHC 3135 (Fam) the President of the Family Division concluded that s 54(3) HFEA 2008 does not have the effect of preventing the court making an order merely because the application is made after the expiration of the six month period.

In this article, Elizabeth Isaacs QC and Matthew Maynard, leading and junior counsel for the child in Re X and Tracy Lakin and Dympna Howells, who acted for the parents, examine the way in which Parliament considered some of the policy issues surrounding the introduction of the six month time limit and how the court approached this issue in Re X.

The full version of this article appears in the December 2014 issue of Family Law.

Online subscribers can access the article here.

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