Celebrating milestones at NGA Law and Brilliant Beginnings

It feels like we keep marking milestones at the moment. In the last two weeks we’ve celebrated NGA Law’s 15th birthday (following BB’s 10th birthday last summer) and Brilliant Beginnings’ Baby 100 also arrived into the world. We’ve all been feeling good and wanted to share our celebration of 15 years and 100 BB babies with you.

Our mission and what we’ve achieved

Our mission at NGA Law has always been to make the law work better for families created in non-traditional ways. We love giving our clients hope and being right behind them in winning the legal recognition they deserve. It means we don’t just practice law, but actively seek to move it forward. That mindset has, over the last 15 years, enabled us to:

  • Establish that paying compensation to a surrogate is legally permissible, making international surrogacy possible for thousands of UK families
  • Change UK surrogacy law to include single parents. Our single client became the first father to be recorded as a sole dad on a UK birth certificate and his case prompted a change to the law
  • Win parental leave rights for surrogacy parents who can now just take for granted they are treated the same as any other parents – as they should be
  • Help rescue the 46 British surrogacy babies due when the Ukraine war broke out (with personal correspondence from the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary – something surreal to see in your inbox on a Sunday morning!)
  • Forge travel document solutions, working with lawyers all over the world, to reunite surrogacy families when COVID turned the world upside down
  • Advise more than 2,000 families and be responsible for 32 reported High Court cases, all establishing something new. Most recently that has included the first platonic coparenting fathers to be recognised as a family and the first single non-biological mother through surrogacy to be granted a sole adoption order.

Setting the standard for ethical surrogacy through Brilliant Beginnings

Brilliant Beginnings was borne of our mission to make the change we wanted to see. It was founded – a sibling organisation to NGA Law – in 2013, aiming to set a new standard of professionalism for surrogacy in the UK. Ten years and 100 miracle babies later (every one of whom feels part of our extended family), we have applied ever-higher standards, always striving to set the gold standard of integrity and ethical surrogacy practice.

The screening and preparation process we pioneered for UK surrogates has kept the amazing women we support safe while they are achieving their dream of creating a family for someone else. And the sheer volume of time, professional experience and nurturing support our client managers give our surrogacy teams at every step of their journey remains unique in the UK. We are very proud of how our process has influenced both other UK surrogacy organisations and the Law Commission’s recommendations on surrogacy law reform.

We also acknowledge how hampered we are by current UK law. Being cautious when screening surrogates isn’t an easy fit with a poor legal framework which makes the numbers of women coming forward small to start with. And that’s why we also support an ethical surrogacy pathway in the US. Having decided to only actively facilitate international surrogacy arrangements we felt 100% confident were legal and rigorously ethical, we have spent the last ten years honing our expertise in US surrogacy, helping UK parents pull together all the complex threads of US surrogacy journeys and working with only the best and most reliable US professionals.

The change we’ve helped to make

Along the way, we have taken every opportunity to educate, inform and make change, including:

  • Helping to write the UK government’s first ever official guidance on surrogacy
  • Advising organisations and influencing public documents and policies, including working with the HFEA, the Department of Heath, HM Passport Office, Stonewall, ITV, Facebook and more
  • Contributing to media discussions everywhere from ITV evening news to Radio 4 woman’s Hour and CNN – we have even written two pieces for the Guardian
  • Collaborating with the University of Cambridge to support the first ever research into the experiences of UK parents going overseas for surrogacy
  • Engaging in global discussions, including with the Hague Conference on International Law, the International Social Service, the Irish Parliament, and at many international conferences
  • Being a driving force for UK surrogacy law reform, including working on numerous Parliamentary debates going back to 2007, talking to government departments and the Law Commission and launching a Change.org petition which now has more than 7,000 signatures.

So what next?

We’ve done a lot in 15 years, but there is more we want to do.

We want to see safe ethical surrogacy made more accessible for more people – and better recognised by UK law.

We want to see all family structures (including multi-parent families and transgender parents) included in the law and properly recognised.

And most of all we want to keep creating families in an ethical way, knowing that what matters to children is not the structure of their family, but having a positive story about their entry into the world and knowing how much they are loved.

Why we do it

With permission, we wanted to finish by sharing a very special picture, taken by the surrogate’s partner of Baby 100’s parents as they watched their child arrive into the world. The simple caption the surrogate chose to add later – ‘worth it’ – says everything.

We can’t wait for the next 15 years and the next 100 babies.


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