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Consultation on surrogacy laws 06/06/2019 The laws around surrogacy are outdated and should be improved to better support the child, surrogates and intended parents, say the Law Commissions.

Consultation on surrogacy laws

The laws around surrogacy are outdated and should be improved to better support the child, surrogates and intended parents, the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission have announced.

Surrogacy is where a woman bears a child on behalf of someone else or a couple, who then intend to become the child’s parents (the intended parents). Surrogacy is legal in the UK, and is recognised by the Government as a legitimate form of building a family.

However, change is needed to make sure the law works for everyone involved. To reflect the wishes of surrogates and intended parents, the Law Commissions are proposing to allow intended parents to become legal parents when the child is born, subject to the surrogate retaining a right to object for a short period after the birth.

This would replace the current system where the intended parents must make an application to the court after the child has been born, and do not become legal parents until the court grants them a parental order. The process can take many months to complete.

This proposal for the creation of a new surrogacy process or “pathway” is one of several that the Law Commissions are now consulting on which aim to bring greater certainty, put the child at the heart of the process and provide comfort and confidence to both the surrogate and the intended parents. Other proposals include:

  • The creation of a surrogacy regulator to regulate surrogacy organisations which will oversee surrogacy agreements within the new pathway.
  • In the new pathway, the removal of the requirement of a genetic link between the intended parents and the child, where medically necessary.
  • The creation of a national register to allow those born of surrogacy arrangements to access information about their origins.

The Law Commissions also ask a number of questions to open the debate on the important topic of the payments that intended parents should be able to make to the surrogate, while provisionally proposing that surrogacy organisations should remain non-profit.

The consultation will run until 27th September. It is available here.

 

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