Become a child's legal parent

You’ll need to apply for a parental order when you and your partner use a surrogate to have a child.

This is the process in England and Wales. The rules are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Getting a parental order transfers legal rights from the birth mother to you and your partner when a surrogate is used to have a child.

Parental orders

You must be genetically related to a child to apply for a parental order, ie the egg or sperm donor, and in a relationship where you and your partner are either:

  • married
  • civil partners
  • living as partners

You and your partner must also:

  • have the child living with you
  • reside permanently in either the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man

You cannot apply for a parental order if you’re single.

How to apply

You must fill in a ‘C51 application form for a parental order’ and give this to a family proceedings court within 6 months of the child’s birth.

You’ll need to provide the child’s full birth certificate and will also be charged a court fee of £215.

The court will then set a date for the hearing and issue you with a ‘C52 acknowledgement form’ that you must give to the child’s legal parent, ie your surrogate.

The birth mother and anyone else who’s a parent of the child must agree to the parental order in writing.

You cannot apply for a parental order once the child is older than 6 months.


If neither you or your partner are related to the child, or you’re single, adoption is the only way you can become the child’s legal parent.

If you choose to adopt, a registered adoption agency must be involved in your surrogacy process.