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Becoming the Legal Parent of a Child

This page explains how to become the legal parent of a child in the United Kingdom. Learn how to get a parental order to be a child's legal parent using the C52 acknowledgement form.

PARENTAL ORDER UK: There are several key steps to becoming a child’s legal parent.

The first part of the process will be to apply for a parental order in the UK.

This is the only way to become the legal parent of a child if you and your partner are using child surrogacy methods.

Having a parental order transfers legal rights away from the birth mother.

Thus, it transfers parental responsibility to those who use a surrogate to have a child.

Note: These guidelines cover the rules for becoming a child’s legal parent in England and Wales, for more detailed advice contact a family lawyer. But, there is a different legal procedure in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.



How to Apply for a Parental Order

Check that you both meet the eligibility criteria before applying for a parental order. All these must apply:

  • You must have some genetic relationship to the child (i.e. be the sperm donor or the egg donor).
  • You must be in a relationship where you and your partner are either:
    • Married
    • Civil partners
    • Living as civil partners
  • You and your spouse (or partner) must also:
    • Have the child you want to become the legal parent of living with you.
    • Reside permanently in either the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.

Note: Parental orders offer legal solutions for solving parenthood in the United Kingdom. But, as a single person you would not be able to apply for a parental order. You must be in a coupled relationship.

The next step is to fill in form C51 titled ‘Application for a Parental Order (Section 54 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008)’. You must give this form to a family proceedings court within six (6) months of the child being born.

The family proceedings court will want to see the full birth certificate of the child. The court will also charge you a fee of £232 for their services.

Once this gets filed the court will set a date for a hearing. They will issue a ‘C52 acknowledgement form‘ to you. Give form C52 to the legal parent of the child (i.e. the surrogate).

The birth mother must agree to the parental order in writing. The same applies for any other parent of the child. They will use form A101A titled ‘Agreement to the making of a parental order in respect of my child. Section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008’.

Note: You should not delay applying for a parental order. This procedure to become a child’s legal parent is not possible once the child turns six (6) months old.



Adoption Alternatives

There is another option if you or your partner are not related to the child. The same alternative is also available if you are single. You may consider the child adoption process as the only way for you to become the legal parent.

Note: A registered adoption agency must have an involvement in the surrogacy process if you choose to adopt a child.



Becoming the Legal Parent of a Child in the United Kingdom