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Parental Orders and identity registration: one country three systems

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Under provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, the UK government introduced the Parental Order as a means by which a couple who had commissioned a surrogate to conceive a child for them, and who met specified conditions, could legally assume parental responsibility for a child born following a surrogacy arrangement other than applying to adopt the child. From the outset, implementation of these provisions was problematic and - as a result of delegated powers to the UK's constituent nations - arrangements for the issue of new birth certificates following the issue of a Parental Order developed differentially throughout the UK. This paper outlines these developments and discusses continuing challenges as regards registration of births following a Parental Order and arrangements for ensuring that individuals subject to a surrogacy arrangement are able to learn the circumstances of their conception and access information regarding their biographical and genetic identity.
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Keywords: Parental Orders; birth certificates; birth registration; surrogacy arrangements

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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