Two Men and a Baby
Congratulations to Tom Daley and his husband, Dustin Lance Black on the birth of their son, Robert Ray.
Robert Ray was born on 27 June, via a surrogate. The news of the birth prompted us here in the family law team to think about how notions of parenthood are changing, with assisted reproduction methods widening the scope of family law. The announcement led us to remember that families come in many forms now, with the more "traditional" concept of a man, woman and biological children now sitting alongside additional views of what makes a family.
The medical advances in fertility treatment has made it possible for same sex couples to have children and have a biological and genetic link to one of their parents, expanding the range of options available to people who would like to have a child otherwise would be unable to do so.
Tom Daley described the birth of his son as "the most magical moment of my life", thanking those who made the couples "dream of having a family this wonderful reality".
The couple have opted to live in the UK, despite their decision to have a child via a surrogate having attracted some negative publicity.
Tom's husband's speculated that perhaps the reaction to surrogacy was less warm in the UK because there are more misconceptions about surrogacy in the UK than there are in the US.
How Harper Macleod's Family Law team can help
Here at Harper Macleod we have seen a rise in approaches from parents who wish to discuss the legal issues around surrogacy and parenthood, whether in the context of a same sex couple, or where "gestational surrogacy" is intended, this being where the egg and sperm come from the intended parents.
In terms of dispelling misconceptions, we can see that it is no longer the case that alternative family arrangements preserve of wealthy celebrities. Surrogacy arrangements are more common than they ever were.
There is a concern that the surrogate who carries the child to term can claim "custody". By applying to the court for a parentage agreement shortly after the child's birth, the intention that was there at the outset of entering into the arrangement can be ratified by the court, giving legal rights to the intended parents.
If considering surrogacy, either of an intended parent or as a surrogate, it is important to understand the legal realities and to take timely advice about any arrangement. Our Family Law team, including myself - Amanda Masson, Nadine Martin and Lynsey Brown would be delighted to help . We appreciate the importance of offering advice in a sensitive and supportive way.