Once in the US

Birth certificate

Before birth, it is worth having your US lawyers make the hospital aware of the importance of having the birth mother and genetic father on the birth certificate. This is necessary to obtain a UK passport. You may wish to avoid listing both “fathers” only on the form, even though this is available in some States. If fatherhood is not clear genetic testing is possible through DNA Diagnostics centre who are recognised by the Home Office if needed for a Parental Order. It is not clear to the authors that the DNA test is officially required at any stage, and note it costs about $1000.

Consider whether you wish to have stem cells from the babies cord blood stored. This can be done at most hospitals but is costly and requires forward planning. Two companies with good reputations are Cryo-Cell and CBR. It is probably worth storing cord tissue and cord blood and (as of 2013) the cost for collection is about $2.8K and $250 annual storage fees. Cryo-Cell are marginally cheaper.

After the birth (at least in Wisconsin), the surrogate completes a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form, stating the name of the father. Therefore this may need to be completed and notarised once paternity is known. Most hospitals have staff members who can act as notaries, and witness the signatures. Note that it may be preferable to request not to have a social security number issued for the infant (he/she can always get this later) otherwise he/she may need to submit an annual US tax return.

Once the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form has been lodged with the State Vital Records Office a birth certificate is issued, with the surrogate mother and genetic father listed as parents. Your lawyers may well co-ordinate this. Get 5 copies of the birth certificate.

UK and US passports

The UK and US passport applications can occur once the birth certificate is available.

For the UK passport, someone in a position of responsibility who has known the genetic father for more than 2 years has to counter-sign. Such positions include most professionals e.g. teachers so should be locally available to you but if not you will need to send the application and infant photographs for signing by courier. The surrogate has to sign a declaration stating she was un-married at the time of the birth. The declaration should be on headed paper, and state:

Declaration of Mother’s Marital Status

I, _______________ the mother, certify that I was not married at the time of the birth of [Full Name] _________________ on [Full Date] _________________. I understand that any false statement may result in the withdrawal of my child's British citizen status.

Signed:

Date:

The infant can enter the UK freely, with no need for entry clearance, once a passport has been issued. Several of our members have returned to the UK with the infant(s) only holding a US passport, due to the long delay in obtaining a UK one. We have been told this does not cause particular problems at the UK border. Here is what one couple told us, "Our son was cleared for entry with a 6 month stamp saying 'Leave to enter for 6 months - No recourse to public funds'. This was provided on the understanding that he will exit and re-enter during this time. We were told the baby's visa stamp would expire as soon as he leaves the country, so he would either have to get a new such stamp on re-entry or use his UK passport once it arrives (which was our plan)."

The US passport can be obtained using an outside agency or can be obtained at a regional office, using the DS-11 form. The US passport website has a nice application for sizing and cropping a photo you take yourself. If the passport is needed within 14 days this requires attendance at a regional office. The US Bureau of Consular Affairs provides all the information.

The Parental Responsibility Forms can be witnessed by the local Consulate. If doubt, get them to confirm with the Family Division (+44 207 947 6980). Again, it would be worth contacting the local Consulate in advance to prepare for this, as the surrogate will also have to attend to sign.

Have the surrogacy agency complete the "Consent to Travel" document in advance (two versions can be prepared if paternity is uncertain). This can be signed and notarised when other legal papers need signing (await instruction from your lawyers).

Further considerations

The infant should have a travel insurance policy. It seems easier for the parent to take out a new policy at the time of birth which allows infants to be included. One of the authors recommends considering an international BUPA travel health policy that allows the new born to be added to the policy 3 days after birth, although excluding any pre-existing conditions (http://www.ihi.com/). An alternative approach is to purchase short term health insurance (e.g. http://www.assuranthealth.com/corp/ah/HealthPlans/short-term-health-insurance.htm) for the infant / family (see http://finder.healthcare.gov/).

Wills need to be updated, once paternity is known, to ensure that the terminology is correct. Similarly, pension rights need to be attributed to the new born if applicable.

In one of the authors’ case, the post- natal support from the hospital was excellent, and there was no need for other support (e.g. maternity nurse). The other author found a maternity nurse to be very helpful!