Well it took nearly a year, but our surrogate twins finally got their British Birth Certificates issued last week. Unlike when a baby is born naturally, it isn’t simply a case of applying to the registrar and filling a in a form. Even for babies born to British parents abroad, it is possible to go to the British Embassy and apply for the required paperwork. But if a baby is born via surrogacy overseas, even if the baby (or babies) are biologically the offspring of two British parents, as in our case, there is no automatic right to being British. And therefore no British birth certificates issued, or indeed no British passports. Only the surrogate, the woman actually giving birth, is considered the legal parent. If she is married or co-habiting (either with a man or woman), that person is considered the second parent. So unless they are British, which is unlikely if you are doing surrogacy abroad, the child is considered to have inherited the surrogate’s nationality by the British courts.
It is actually possible to apply for British citizenship for a surrogate baby, but this doesn’t mean that a British birth certificate is issued and therefore the original one from the country in which the surrogate baby is born, in our case the USA, remains the only one. It seems to us that there isn’t actually a massive need for a British birth certificate once a child had become a British citizen, however it has been a ‘nice-to-have’ benefit of receiving our Parental Orders last month. For some parents, gaining the Parental Order is the only way in which the surrogate baby becomes British, rather than separately applying for citizenship.
Once the HIgh Court has issued the Parental Order, the children became legally ours, and the surrogate and her husband were no longer considered the parents. Therefore this allows for a new and adjusted birth certificate to reflect this. For a surrogate baby born in the UK, a second British birth certificate naming the Intended Parents will be issued. In the case of a surrogate baby born in some parts of the USA, the Intended Parents names were most likely already on the US Birth certificate, such is the difference in approach.
To know that our twins have dual citizenship with the USA and the UK feels like they really do have great opportunities for work and travel in their lives. And to have a full house of paperwork, including their British birth certificates, can surely only be an advantage for them in the future.