In the UK, a surrogate is the legal parent unless a parental order is signed
The first transgender couple to have become parents in the UK said a nurse did not let them see their newborn daughter because they were “not the legal parents”.
Jake and Hannah Graf, from south London, said that they were both “nearly in tears” in the hospital car park after the nurse said that they would not be allowed to meet the baby girl.
Millie was born just an hour prior to Mr and Ms Graf arriving at the hospital in Belfast in April 2020, in the early months of the Covid pandemic.
A surrogate is the legal parent in the UK unless she signs a parental order transferring her rights, or the baby is legally adopted, as a surrogacy agreement is not enforceable by law. It is also illegal to pay a woman to carry and birth a baby, except for medical expenses.
The birth mother is allowed to keep the child, until the parental order is signed within six months of the baby’s birth, even if she is not genetically-related to the baby. At least one of the intended parents has to be genetically-related to the baby for a parental order to be enforced.
Speaking on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast released on Tuesday, Mr Graf, 42, said a “very busy” nurse told them she could not give them any information on baby Millie’s whereabouts in the hospital, and that she was “unimpressed” when the couple told her they were the parents.
The director, actor, and transgender activist continued: “There was yellow tape everywhere, it was absolutely deserted, the car park was mostly cordoned off, there was no one in any of the receptions. We went in looking for anyone who could help.”
The couple were able to see Millie after surrogate mother Laura’s birthing partner said they would let them into the maternity ward.
Sandhurst-trained Ms Graf, 33, who has also acted in films under former surname Winterbourne, was the highest-ranking transgender officer in the British Army before leaving the military to begin a career in finance.
Ms Graf said that Laura will “very much” remain part of Millie’s life. In a Channel 4 clip posted on Mr Graf’s YouTube channel, the couple reveal that Laura has offered to carry another baby for them and that “in a perfect world” it would be a boy.