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Dad Says He's Been Raising His Son From Birth But Had To Legally Adopt Him From A Couple That Isn't Biologically Related To The Baby

Photo: TikTok
Screenshots from @stuartandfrancis TikTok

Imagine having to wait ten months after the birth of your baby to be the legal parents of your child. This was the experience of UK-based family vloggers Stuart and Francis, who took to social media to document the lengthy process of becoming their son’s legal parents.



These dads had to legally adopt their son from his surrogate mother and her husband.

Stuart and Francis have gained over a million followers on TikTok by sharing videos of their daily lives. Their son, Rio, was born in November of 2021.

Rio was conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and his surrogate mother had no biological relation to him. His egg donor was an American woman, and Stuart and Francis have not publicly shared which of the two is Rio’s biological father since they want to tell Rio themselves when he’s older.

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Photo: TikTok

When Rio was born, his surrogate mother and her husband were listed as his legal parents on his birth certificate. Stuart and Francis were not allowed to make medical decisions for the child.

The couple went through an extensive ten-month legal procedure to adopt their son. They had to apply for a parental order and were required to provide evidence for every step of the birth process with detailed statements. They had to attend multiple hearings and were visited by a social worker to “assess their suitability as parents.”



“We understand the law is in place to protect the process,” the couple shared in a TikTok. “However, we believe the law needs updating. At birth, the intended parents should immediately go on the birth certificate.”

Surrogacy laws around the world create complications for same-sex couples looking to have children.

Laws like these aren’t exclusive to the UK. A lesbian couple in North Carolina had to go through a similar process. They also gave birth via IVF, but only the mom who was biologically related to the child was declared their child’s legal parent at birth. Her spouse, who gave birth to the child, had to go through the adoption process to have legal rights over her child, which also included being visited by a social worker to assess her capability as a parent.

Surrogacy laws like those in the UK and the US make it so that same-sex couples have to go to extra lengths to “prove” that they are capable parents, while most heterosexual couples wouldn’t have to think twice about background checks, adoption forms, legal fees, or visits from social workers. These laws can lead to nightmare scenarios for parents, who could lose custody of the children they raised from birth.

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Stuart and Francis have another child due later this year — a baby girl, who they will also have to legally adopt after she’s born. Hopefully, in the near future, families like theirs won’t have to endure so many challenges simply to be legally protected. Surrogacy is already an expensive, complicated process without taking potentially discriminatory laws into account. Same-sex couples looking to have children should be entitled to the same protections as straight couples.

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Jessica Bracken is a writer living in Davis, California. She covers entertainment and news for YourTango.