A LEADING North East solicitor is celebrating after successfully helping a range of couples through the complicated surrogacy process.

And Natalia Lalas, of Durham-based EMG Solicitors, is also highlighting the fact that anyone desperate to have children by this method can still do so without having to pay a huge price tag for legal fees.

Natalia specialises in surrogacy and has already supported a number of couples in successfully getting through difficult legal proceedings.

This includes acting for a couple where the wife had undergone gender reassignment and the baby was born via surrogacy but wasn’t recognised as their child until they were granted a High Court application.

Along with dealing with these matters, Natalia also assisted the couple in a complex procedure to get the baby a passport.

At the same time the solicitor acted for a heterosexual couple who couldn’t have a child so travelled to the USA and used a surrogate. Although the baby was theirs, it wasn’t recognised as such until a High Court order was made.

“Surrogacy can be a hugely complicated process,” said Natalia. “Which is why you need proper legal support but some people are put off because solicitors’ charges can be as much as £100,000.

“We want to highlight that expert, experienced advice is available here in the North East at a fraction of the cost. You don’t even have to be based in the North East to instruct us.  I’ve been instructed by intended parents from all over the country as well as abroad.”

Natalia added that couples often travel abroad to find a surrogate because it is difficult to find one in the UK.

“Surrogacy is legal in many countries but you must make sure that you have legal advice to avoid any pitfalls,” she said.

“India has recently closed its doors to international surrogacy but the USA continues to be a growth area and an increasingly popular destination for couples.”

Natalia added, “ once the baby is born, it is essential to apply for a parental order in order to confer legal rights on the intended parents as without this order, the English court recognise the surrogate mother – and her husband if married-  as the legal parents of the child.”

Further information is available by contacting EMG Solicitors www.emgsolicitors.com or calling 0191 731 4612.