Adoption and Fertility

Advances in fertility technology and developments in society are changing the way we think about the structure of families and what constitutes and “family” both on a human and legal level.

Our specialist fertility and adoption lawyers have wide-ranging experience helping clients navigate the adoption process, as well as advising on all aspects of surrogacy and fertility law.

Whether you wish to adopt from abroad, adopt your step-child or another child in the UK, or you are considering surrogacy or fertility treatment, our specialist family lawyers take a sensitive and compassionate approach in this ever changing area of law.  

If  travelling abroad for fertility treatment, or to adopt, although you may be recognised as the legal parent abroad, there are likely to be necessary steps to be taken when returning to the UK, in order to ensure that your rights as a parent are recognised under English law. Taking specialist family law advice at an early stage is therefore essential. We can help you create a plan and implement it to build your family with as little stress and uncertainty as possible.

To get in touch with our fertility and adoption solicitors, give us a call at our offices in Clapham or Hammersmith or fill in our online enquiry form to the right of the page.

Our fertility and adoption solicitors’ expertise

We provide support and guidance at every stage, including:

  • Adoptions of step-children, siblings and children in care
  • LGBTQ adoption
  • Single parent adoption
  • International adoption
  • Fostering to adopt
  • Issues which arise post-adoption
  • Surrogacy
  • Assisted conception, including IUI, IVF, and egg and sperm donation
  • Special Guardianship Orders


The legal process of adoption will vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case (for example, adopting a step-child is very different to adopting a child from abroad).

Before committing to adoption, it is important to explore the procedure and legal outcome including what will be required of you as a potential adoptive parent. We can provide pre-adoption advice at this stage, including helping you decide whether adoption is right for you and your family, advising on the various options and procedures and liaising with adoption agencies.

How long does the adoption process take?

A child may come to a family for adoption in a variety of ways. These can include being the step-child of one parent, through the local authority or having been adopted abroad. 

The final step of adoption in the UK and the vital step to recognise you in law as that child’s parent(s) is the adoption order.  A child must live with you for a prescribed amount of time before you are able to apply for an adoption, and this time period depends on the type of adoption, for example:

  • Children placed by agencies and local authorities – 10 weeks
  • Fostering to adopt – 1 year
  • Step parent adoptions – 6 months
  • Overseas adoption – 6 months

For a confidential, no obligation chat about your adoption law matter, please get in touch with our specialist family law solicitors in London by giving us a call at our offices in Clapham or Hammersmith on +44 (0)203 824 9950, email us at, or fill in the enquiry form to the right of the page.


Surrogacy is legal in the UK (although apart from reimbursing expenses, a surrogate cannot be paid), however, under current UK law, the legal parents of a child are the woman who gives birth and their spouse or civil partner (unless they do not consent).

Legal parenthood can be transferred to the intended parents via a parental order or adoption after the baby is born. Therefore, surrogacy agreements are often used to set out the intended agreement with the surrogate. Prospective parents should be aware that surrogacy agreements are not legally enforceable in the UK and if there is a dispute with the surrogate or her spouse, the courts will only ever make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

It is therefore crucial to consult specialist family law solicitors before embarking upon surrogacy, for clear, practical advice about your options and the process of applying to be legally recognised as the child’s parent(s).

Assisted conception

We can give advice on the legal rules and structures which exist to help both single parents and couples expand their families using assisted conception.

The law as to who is recognised in law as a child’s parent, when they have been conceived using assisted reproduction, is complicated and ever advancing. As medical science has progressed in this area, the law has had to adapt rapidly and often as a result of an individual case raising new and unique questions to be resolved.

We ensure that our specialist family solicitors are at the forefront of industry knowledge to ensure we give you the accurate, high-quality advice and the best possible chance of avoiding any issues as you pursue fertility treatment. Our wide-ranging expertise includes:

  • Donor conception – the process of conceiving a child using donated sperm or eggs
  • Embryo donation – this is where the intended parents require both a donor egg and sperm.
  • Co-parenting – it is becoming increasingly common for single men and women to choose to have a child together. We can help co-parents enter into co-parenting agreements to set out important matters such as who will have parental responsibility and arrangements for the child including where they will live and when they will spend time with each of their parents.

Why choose Burgess Mee’s fertility and adoption solicitors in London?

We understand that families come in all shapes and sizes; whatever your goals, whether it be to have a child by adoption, surrogacy, or fertility treatment, we’ll be by your side, supporting and advising you at every step of the way. Our bespoke advice is tailored thoughtfully to each of our clients’ individual situations, and we aim to make your experience with us as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

If you need advice before embarking on the adoption or assisted reproduction path to becoming parents or about a dispute or disagreement, such as post-adoption and/or parental responsibility issues, we are here to help.

Our specialist family lawyers are members of Resolution (a national network of family lawyers), and strive to assist clients in resolving their family law issues in a constructive and non-confrontational way, avoiding the expense and stress of court, wherever possible.

Burgess Mee are also accredited by the Law Society in Family Mediation and our team includes three trained mediators: Peter Burgess, David Lillywhite and Henrietta Thomas.

We are ranked as one of the leading family firms in London and the UK by the The Times Best Law Firms, Tatler’s High Net Worth Guide, Citywealth and global lawyer databases like Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, where particular recognition is also given to several of our lawyers individually.

Contact Burgess Mee’s fertility and adoption solicitors in London

For a confidential, no obligation chat about your adoption or fertility law matter, please get in touch with our specialist family law solicitors in London by giving us a call at our offices in Clapham or Hammersmith on +44 (0)203 824 9950, email us at, or fill in the enquiry form to the right of the page.

Burgess Mee is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).