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In re X and Another

High Court of Justice of England and Wales
[2009] EWHC 3030 (Fam. 71)


A British couple (plaintiffs) traveled to Ukraine on a temporary visa and entered into a surrogacy agreement with a married Ukrainian woman. Commercial surrogacy was illegal in Great Britain but legal in Ukraine. The Ukrainian woman was implanted with an anonymous egg and the male plaintiff’s sperm. The Ukrainian woman gave birth to twins. The plaintiffs paid the Ukrainian woman in full, and the Ukrainian woman and her husband disavowed all parental rights and responsibilities regarding the twins. Under Ukrainian law, the plaintiffs were the legal parents of the twins, and the twins were not Ukrainian citizens. After the twins’ birth, the plaintiffs were unable to remain in Ukraine, as their visas were only temporary. However, when the plaintiffs attempted to reenter Great Britain, they found that their commercial-surrogacy agreement was unenforceable in Great Britain. Accordingly, not only were the plaintiffs not the legal parents of the twins under British law, but the twins had no right to enter Great Britain at all. The twins were effectively stateless. Through DNA testing, the male plaintiff proved to British immigration authorities that he was the biological father of the twins. As a result, the plaintiffs were permitted to enter Great Britain on a discretionary basis to determine their parental and citizenship status. The plaintiffs filed an application, seeking a court order declaring the plaintiffs the legal parents of the twins under British law.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hedley, J.)

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