Under section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 an application may be made by two people for an order providing for a child to be treated in law as a child of the applicants provided that certain conditions are satisfied. One of the requirements is that the applicants must be living as partners in an enduring family relationship.

In this case, a couple had a surrogate child born in India and, following their return to the UK, the couple applied for a parental order. The husband died before the application had been dealt with and the court had to decide whether the application survived the death of one of the applicants and whether the wording of section 54 could be construed as requiring two people to make the application, but not to require two living applicants at the time of the making of the order.

The court held that the relevant welfare considerations all related to the child. Section 54 could be interpreted to allow the court to be satisfied that the relevant requirements had been met. It was clearly in the child’s interest that an order was made to secure his legal status with both the husband and wife. The evidence clearly demonstrated that the child’s welfare needs were met by the making of joint order and a parental order was made.  

A & A v P & P & B