A father who won a landmark legal case over Britain’s surrogacy laws hopes to soon recieve the same rights as other parents.
In May, the father (who wishes to remain anonymous) won a High Court ruling, in which the Government pledged to update the law on parental orders.
His baby was born to a surrogate mother, and, as he is single, UK laws state that he cannot be given full parental responsibility.
Without this parental responsibility, he cannot legally make key decisions about his son.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 – the legislation soon to be changed – only allows married couples, civil partners and couples in an “enduring family relationship” to apply for parental orders after a surrogacy arrangement.
“There isn’t that much difference to being a single dad, to being a single mum”, the father said.
“Several of my friends have said that their friends have chosen to have a child while they’re single, but obviously for biological reasons, it’s much easier for them.”
However, under UK law, as the father of the baby was a single man, the surrogate mother was legally given parental responsibility over the child.
“When he’s older, I can’t choose which school he goes to. I took him to hospital once and they asked me ‘do you have parental responsibility?’”, the father said.
“Not being able to apply for a passport was an issue – because I wanted to take my son away on a trip for a short period of time.”
After a breakthrough legal battle, the High Court found the law to be “incompatible” with the Human Rights Act.
Health minister Lord Prior said: “The Government has accepted the judgment. We will be looking to update the legislation on parental orders, and are now considering how best to do this.”
The change is expected to happen within the next 12 months, said the Department of Health.