Putting children and young people first in the family courts


What is a Parental Order Reporter?


A Parental Order Reporter is appointed by the court to recommend whether a parental order, to transfer legal parenthood from the surrogate to the intended parents, should be made. This is in cases where a child has been born through surrogacy. Their role is to consider the child’s best interests and to investigate the circumstances of the case.

Parental Order Reporters work for Cafcass and are fully qualified social workers.


What the Parental Order Reporter does


The Parental Order Reporter will meet with you and will see you with your child. They will also investigate whether all the criteria for making a parental order are met. If they are not, the court may not be able to make a parental order.

The Parental Order Reporter will also need to establish whether the surrogate and her legal partner, if she has one, consent to a parental order, and make sure that they have a full understanding of what consenting to a parental order means.

Beyond this, the extent of the enquiries made will vary in each case. However the Parental Order Reporter may want to: 

  • make checks with the local authority and the police, to see if there is any information held which might be relevant to the safety of the child – your permission will be sought before this happens

    • find out about you and your child’s journey so far, such as the background to your application, or why you chose surrogacy

  • understand your family structure and the child’s place within this.


At all times the Parental Order Reporter will be considering the welfare of the child both now and in the future. This will also be the most important issue for the court when deciding whether to make a parental order.


What the Parental Order Reporter and court will consider following a parental order application


Parental Order Reporter Angela explains what the court asks her to look into following a parental order application. There are two distinct sets of criteria, listed by the HFEA Act and the Welfare Checklist. 


How a Parental Order Reporter worked with Julian and Warren


Julian and Warren explain how their Parental Order Reporter Helen worked with them through their application for their daughter Alexia. 


What to consider before the Parental Order Reporter visits


The Parental Order Reporter will write to you before they visit you, and will tell you what you need to prepare.

You might want to start bringing together the following information:

    • your marriage or civil partnership certificate

    • your child’s birth certificate

    • bank log, or details of any payments you have made to the surrogate

  • your child’s ‘personal child health record’ (commonly known as the PCHR or red book).


The court will often ask for a statement, setting out how the surrogacy came about, along with any supporting documents that show how you fulfil the conditions for a parental order to be made.


Advice on preparing a parental order application


It’s a busy time with a new born baby – hear what Ben and his partner Lee did to help prepare their parental order application.


The court experience 


Hear Ben talk about how his Parental Order Reporter Maureen worked with him and his partner Lee through the court process when the applied for a parental order for their daughter Eleanor.


Advice on the documentation you will need


Parental Order Report Angela gives advice on what records and documentation you should collect during your surrogacy journey, to help when it comes to making a parental order application.



Speaking to your child about their origins


It is also important to begin thinking about how you will make sure that your child grows up familiar and secure with their origins and their identity. Find out more about how to speak to your child about their origins.


Further information


Find our more about the role of a Parental Order Reporter in our Parental Order Reporter factsheet.

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