The law ought to be simple and straightforward for donor conception families, but it isn’t always. For this reason, if you are planning to conceive as a solo mum, thinking about conceiving with the help of a friend outside the clinic system or at an overseas clinic, you might need legal advice. If you already have children but your relationship is breaking down, advice from a sympathetic and knowledgeable practitioner will be important. If you are a solo mum, you should think about making a will to ensure that your wishes are carried out should anything happen to you. Anyone contemplating surrogacy will certainly need a lawyer because a court order is necessary to confer legal parenthood.
There are many lawyers in this area, but the ones below have signed up to our Lawyer Supporter programme, listed alphabetically. We make no particular recommendation about them other than to tell you they are long-term supporters of DC Network and recognise both the importance of the work they do and also the value of our Network in providing help and information to donor conception families.
4 Paper Buildings is consistently ranked as a leading set of barristers’ chambers specialising in family law. We have a number of barristers who have experience in the law related fertility, surrogacy, donor conception and legal parentage. Our barristers have appeared in a number of the leading cases in this area of law and can provide assistance through legal advice in conference and/or representation at court.
At Biscoes we are committed to helping you create and protect the family you have always wanted.
The law in this area can be complex so it is important that you receive clear advice prior to embarking on this journey. We provide expert, bespoke and cutting edge legal assistance to people across the country and around the world.
Burgess Mee is an award winning, Legal 500 boutique family law practice with offices in Clapham, Hammersmith and Islington. We specialise in all areas of family law including surrogacy and fertility law.
Advances in assisted reproduction technology and developments in society are changing the way we think about the structure of families and what constitutes “family” both on a human and legal level. Our specialist fertility lawyers have wide-ranging experience helping clients navigate the surrogacy process as well as advising on all aspects of fertility law including donor conception.
The law as to who is recognised as a child’s legal parent when they have been conceived using assisted reproduction, is complicated and ever advancing. Our specialist solicitors are at the forefront of industry knowledge to ensure we give you accurate, high-quality advice and the best possible chance of avoiding any issues as you pursue fertility treatment.
Our wide-ranging expertise includes advising upon donor conception and co-parenting. We advise on the legal parenthood status and can prepare known donor agreements and co-parenting agreements.
If you are considering surrogacy or conceiving with a donor, our solicitors will provide you with clear and sensitive legal advice. We can also provide support if you are thinking about becoming a surrogate or a donor and would like to be clear about your legal position.
Sarah Wood-Heath leads our work in modern families, parenting and fertility law. She advises clients on their journey to parenthood, including the legal implications of the options available to them, drafting agreements and securing legal parental status. Sarah provides sound, robust representation and is often praised for her sensitivity and non-judgemental approach. Sarah is instructed on a number of international surrogacy matters which are being heard in High Court of Justice Family Division.
We also advise on assisted reproduction law, co-parenting, bespoke fertility law, adoption and relationship breakdown. Our family law solicitors can help people from all walks of life, especially those faced with complex, challenging or international situations.
Clarke Willmott has family law solicitors ready to help in London, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Southampton and Taunton.
Harper Macleod's Modern Families specialist service can advise on all areas of family law relating to donor-conceived children and children born by assisted reproduction. Appointments are available in each of Harper Macleod's offices, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Lerwick and Thurso.
Amanda Masson is an expert in all aspects of child law including surrogacy, adoption and fertility law. Amanda is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Child Law. She has acted for numerous couples seeking to create a family via surrogacy and donor conception. Amanda has prepared child welfare reports for the Court in cases in which donor conception is a factor. She has written numerous articles on the legal aspects of family creation. Amanda seeks to support clients by being mindful of the emotional aspects while offering reliable, pragmatic advice on the legal nuances of all methods of family creation.
The national family team at Irwin Mitchell have an outstanding reputation across all aspects of family and fertility law. Our forward thinking approach means that we continue to help people from all walks of life in their journey to parenthood. From donor conception to domestic and international surrogacy arrangements, our focus on modern families means we have been involved with many happy stories.
With a breadth of knowledge in complex children matters, we have the additional strength of being able to deal with difficult and unusual situations, including helping our clients when disputes arise.
Our key contacts in this area are:
· Hannah Saxe who is noted in Chambers and Partners for her expertise in surrogacy and adoption cases and described as 'astute and level-headed' in the Legal 500 - find out more about Hannah
· Scott Halliday who brings a wealth of knowledge and skill especially in those cases where trans rights or LGBT+ family law issues arise. He is recommended in the Legal 500 as 'the go to lawyer for all matters relating to LGBTQ and family law' - find out more about Scott
· Emma Hubbard who is also recognised in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners as being 'smart, dynamic and client focused' - find out more about Emma
We work nationally, so we can offer clients appointments face to face near to where they live or meet remotely if that’s more convenient. You can find out more about our team and our offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Chichester, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton on our website.
NGA Law was the UK’s first fertility law firm. Led by Natalie Gamble, the firm is the only one in the UK to specialise exclusively in fertility law and family law for non-traditional families and has unique experience of donor conception and surrogacy law, having worked with thousands of families and having handled most of the UK’s leading cases in this area. They are longstanding supporters of the Donor Conception Network, and have long been at the forefront of the law’s development (including fighting for legal rights for gay, lesbian and single parents conceiving through donor conception and surrogacy).
The firm’s free online Knowledge Centre is a widely used resource on donor conception and surrogacy law.
Osbornes Law has experience of dealing with a diverse range of issues surrounding donor conception and surrogacy.
Bridget Thompson and her family law team at Osbornes Law are able to advise intended birth parents, co-parents and donors on the legal issues. Our specialist team will advise on co-parenting agreements and parenthood following donor conception, both at a clinic, and on an informal basis.
Bridget’s team includes Naomi Angell, leading consultant; a specialist in surrogacy and fertility law.
Osbornes Law issued the leading case of A & Ors (Human Fertilisation And Embryology Act 2008)  EWHC 2602 - the President of the Family Division granted declarations of parentage to couples where there were anomalies in the clinic records in relation to the parentage. She has extensive experience in dealing with matters following a family breakdown and disputes about childcare.
The firm has a number of mediators who can mediate in relation to co-parenting agreements as well as disputes between parents.
Osbornes Law is a major London law practice offering a range of specialist legal services.
Our family law department offers the highest quality of support to our clients, stemming from the experience and talent of outstanding family lawyers who are nationally and internationally acknowledged as leaders in their field.
Linzi Bull, partner in the family team at Penningtons Manches Cooper, has developed a strong reputation in all areas of family law. In particular, she has a specialism in LBGT family issues, international surrogacy and is regularly involved in pre-conception agreements.
Recognised by both the main legal directories, Linzi has been described by The Legal 500 as ‘highly impressive’ with ‘terrific client skills.’ She is recommended in the Citywealth Leaders’ and Power Women Lists and was last year ranked by Spears as one of the top 50 UK family lawyers.
Shoosmiths is a major UK law firm, with a can-do ethos, values that are more than words on paper and the agility to find the best way for each individual client. The Shoosmiths family law team are highly technical and specialise in the law relating to surrogacy, fertility, LGBT+ issues, legal parentage and donor conception. They are sensitive and supportive to the needs of their clients and emotional journey they are on. Partner Sally Robinson leads the team in this area, with reported parental order cases in the High Court involving complex and unique legal issues.
Simpson Millar pride themselves on being the “Open Lawyers” which means we provide legal advice and representation to people from all walks of life in a way that is easy to access and understand. The team has been cited in legal directories as “astute and tenacious” and having a “stellar reputation” in the field of surrogacy and fertility law.
We are passionate about making crucial legal advice on alternative fertility options available to as many people as possible and have helped people from all backgrounds in difficult circumstances to become parents through surrogacy, donation and co-parenting arrangements.
Our Modern Families team have fought hard to remove boundaries and reduce the obstacles in fertility law and we’re proud to have a number of successfully reported cases in this field.
Cara Nuttall who leads the Modern Families team has been recognised in legal directories for her work in complex children work, including fertility law, since 2013, and has been ranked as a “leading individual” for a number of years. She has been described in the Legal 500 as having “real eye for detail and a real passion for her clients’ cases, striving to always achieve the best results possible. She is everything a demanding private law client requires: intelligent, experienced and completely committed” – commendation that reflects the ethos and commitment of her team.
Alongside their specialist knowledge in fertility and complex child law, the team also has nationally recognised expertise in all aspects of relationship and parenting break-down, should things go wrong.
The Modern Family Law Company are a child focused law firm for modern families. We specialise in all aspects of children law, including family creation via all means. We have been set up to cater to all forms of modern families, with a focus on supporting the LGBT community. As a virtual firm we providing our clients with the ultimate in flexibility, providing you with access to specialist solicitors who themselves live within modern families, at a time and via means that fit around your life and from the comfort of your own home or from your desk, car or indeed even out on the move. We also have a unique offering to support your mental health and wellbeing, being able to call on our network of trusted partners who are specialists in the fields of counselling and wellbeing support. Modern legal services for modern families.
TV Edwards has a large family department with a strong national reputation. Our solicitors are constructive, child focused, empathetic and sympathetic to the stress caused by fertility treatment.
Our modern parenting team’s expertise includes: legal parenthood; donor conception; surrogacy; co-parenting and adoption. We have advised patients where welfare of the child concerns have been raised and where patients have sought to use gametes post separation.
Anest Mathias is recognised as a leading individual in this field with many years of experience. She represented a husband in a declaration of parentage in a case reported in the national media where the wife had found a donor online. She represented the first patient to issue an application for a declaration of parentage following the discovery that the clinic did not hold the consents for her partner to become parent of their child conceived using donor sperm. This landmark case was reported as Re A and others (Legal Parenthood: Written Consents)  EWHC 2602 (Fam). She is frequently consulted by intended parents, surrogates, donors and parents. Anest’s clients have been commended by judges for their sensible approach. She is regularly recommended by former clients and professional colleagues alike.
Our wider family law expertise includes child arrangements; child abduction; financial provision for spouses and children; divorce; cohabitation disputes; and protective injunctions.