Mary Welstead, CAP Fellow Harvard Law School; Visiting Professor in Family law University of Buckingham
In X v Z, Theis J once again rescued intended parents, and the child gestated for them by a Californian surrogate mother, from a strict interpretation of s 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. The judge granted a parental order for an adult child aged 23 when the Act demands that applications are made within six months of the child’s birth. Were the judge to have refused the application, there would have been significant and lifelong consequence for the surrogate parents, the intended parents and their 23-year-old son.
The question was also raised as to whether the requirement that the child should have his home with his intended parents at the time of the application for the parental order, and the time of its grant, had been met. Theis J held that it had; a broad interpretation of the term ‘home with’ was necessary and the lives of the parents and their son remained entwined although he lived and worked away from home.
Until surrogacy law in the United Kingdom is reformed, the compassionate judgments of Mrs Justice Theis and her colleagues will be relied on to allow intended parents and the children created for them to become a legal family.
The full article will be published in the August issue of Family Law.