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I'm considering a surrogacy arrangement. What are my employment rights?
Most of your employment rights in connection with surrogacy depend on who has parental responsibility for the child. A birth mother automatically has parental responsibility from birth, together with her husband if they are married. If the birth mother is unmarried, the intended father in the surrogacy arrangement can be named on the birth certificate to obtain parental responsibility.
If you plan to become parents through a surrogacy arrangement and either you or your husband or partner are genetically related to the baby (i.e. egg or sperm donors), you can apply for a Parental Order transferring parental responsibility to you both as the new parents. You must apply before the baby is six months old. You cannot apply for a Parental Order if you are single.
If you are not genetically related to the baby, you can apply for an adoption order, as long as you have used a registered adoption agency in the surrogacy process. This is the only way of becoming the child's legal parent.
Intended parents under a surrogacy arrangement who are eligible for and intend to apply for a Parental Order are entitled to unpaid time off to accompany the surrogate mother to up to two antenatal appointments, each capped at six and a half hours. You have the right to take the time off work, but it is for the birth mother to decide whether she consents to you attending the appointment.
Intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement who are eligible and intend to apply for a Parental Order are entitled to take adoption leave, including where the mother gives birth overseas, and to share that leave between the two surrogate parents under the Shared Parental Leave regime, as long as eligibility tests are met.
Other important rights include:
Check your employer’s policies to see whether any policies have been put in place. The charity Maternity Action has more information for intended surrogate parents and an advice line which you can call on: 0845 600 85 33.