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(Family Division, Theis J, 15 May 2013)
The married couple applied for a parental order pursuant to s 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 in relation to a child who had been conceived through IVF treatment in Moscow with the first applicant's sperm and eggs from an anonymous Russian donor and had been carried by a married Russian surrogate mother. The child was born in Moscow with both applicants present at the birth and they had cared for the child since. The child had been registered as a British citizen and the family had returned to the United Kingdom after receiving his passport. The applicants were treated as C's legal parents under Russian law, having been legitimately registered as such on his Russian birth certificate with the consent of the surrogate.
The application was allowed. In all the circumstances, the child's welfare needs would clearly not be met without a parental order. The child's future was in the long-term care of the applicants, they were his de facto parents and his welfare demanded that their relationship was given lifelong security which could only be achieved by making a parental order. Although the applicants had parental responsibility by virtue of a residence order previously made by the court, they were not his legal parents and he lacked a lifelong connection with them for a number of significant matters. Without an order he would be left in something of a legal vacuum, without full legal membership of any family anywhere in the world.
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