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
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.
A City Law Firm
64 Clifton Street
A City Law Firm, is a leading Legal 500 Law Firm, with a specialist Family and Children Law team based in the heart of the City of London as well as Croydon.
We offer advice and representation on fertility law, surrogacy in the UK and internationally (applications for Parental Orders as well as being able to assist with resolution if surrogacy goes wrong) and donor agreements. We also provide general family law advice including divorce, financial proceedings, pre/post nuptial agreements, all aspects of children law and the law as it relates to unmarried couples. In addition, we also draft your Wills as expectant parents, advise on the immigration aspects of international surrogacy and on your employment rights as intended parents. Our fees are always competitive, and we offer meetings by Skype as well as by telephone and in person.
What makes us stand out are our people, who are supportive, experienced and who truly care. The Founder, Karen Holden, has recently been awarded Freedom of the City in recognition of her tireless work towards equality for all. Not only is Karen a mother herself, but she has won the Best Business Woman award and has also received an award for her charitable services. Karen and ACLF have been working in the co-parenting, fertility and surrogacy sector for well over 15 years and the firm prides itself on its pioneering work for LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality and everyone’s right to have a family and be free from harassment and bullying.
Biscoes Law Limited
Stephanie Bellchambers & Liza Gatrell
64-66 West Street
Stephanie Bellchambers: Email Stephanie
Liza Gatrell: Email Liza
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.
Bishop and Sewell LLP
Louise Barretto and Karma Hickman
59-60 Russell Square
Louise Baretto: Email Louise
Karma Hickman: Email Karma
Bishop and Sewell’s specialised Forming Families team is made up of experienced, approachable lawyers who are able to advise on a range of issues arising from fertility and surrogacy law.
We pride ourselves on offering clear and practical advice in a supportive, accessible way.
Our Forming Families team is uniquely placed to help those considering international options, as it brings together lawyers from our family and immigration departments.
Both departments are listed in Chambers and Legal 500, where Louise Barretto and Karma Hickman are also individually recognised for their work.
5 St Helen’s Place
+44 (0) 203 733 6000 (London)
Sarah Wood-Heath: Email Sarah
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 LLP
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.
Cara Nuttall and Joanna Jellings
1 Byrom Place
Cara Nuttall: Email Cara
Joanna Jellings: Email Joanna
JMW offer services in both Manchester and Liverpool.
Our experienced team of family lawyers has the compassion and legal know-how to guide you through whatever legal situation you may face. At JMW we are committed to providing you with the cutting edge legal advice you need to secure a firm legal foundation for your family. Whether you are considering adopting a child within the UK or overseas, conceiving a child through sperm or egg donation, co-parenting or extending your family via surrogacy, we can help.
201 Borough High Street
Helen Prosser: Email Helen
NGA Law (Natalie Gamble Associates) was the UK’s first fertility law firm and has unique experience of donor conception and surrogacy law, having worked with hundreds 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.
Bridget Thompson: Email Bridget
Naomi Angell: Email Naomi
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.
Penningtons Manches Cooper
125 Wood Street
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.
In 2019 Linzi joined the DCN Trustee board.
TV Edwards Solicitors LLP
35-37 Mile End Road
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.