Surrogacy law reform: law commission report and draft bill welcomed by family lawyers
It would be fair to say that the law which currently governs surrogacy in the UK is not fit for purpose and does not reflect the reality of those engaged in the process.
There are several issues faced by intended parents, most significant of which being the lengthy process which can take many months to complete.
As the law currently stands, intended parents have to wait until the child is born before they can issue the parental order application and only upon the granting of a final order will the intended parents become legal parents. The process can take many months to complete before a final order is granted and it simply does not reflect the child’s family life nor does it provide adequate rights for the intended parents if they need to make decisions about the child’s health or welfare whilst in their sole care.
It is therefore welcomed that Law Commission Report on Surrogacy “Building Families Through Surrogacy: A New Law” and draft Bill published today proposes a new pathway to legal parenthood will allow intended parents to be legal parents from birth.
Furthermore, it is encouraging to see several recommendations for reform included with the draft Bill such as the creation of regulated bodies which will be non- profit-making bodies overseeing agreements under the new pathway which will provide support to the surrogate and the intended parents. It is hoped that this will bring about better regulation to monitor the surrogacy process and thus reducing the risk for all involved.
There are also proposals for reform to the law governing the payments that intended parents can make to the surrogate, providing better clarity and making it easier for intended parents to navigate and apply in practice and guard against the risk of exploitation for the surrogate.
The Law Commission Report also proposes for the creation of a new Surrogacy Register to allow children born of surrogacy agreement to access information about their origins, ensuring the welfare of these children is protected and that their emotional needs are met throughout their life.
It is encouraging to see that the Law Commission Report on Surrogacy and draft Bill released today reflects what needs to be done to bring the law on surrogacy into the 21st Century. It is vital that the law changes to reflect today’s society, especially as the number of children born through surrogacy is significantly higher than it was over 30 years ago, when the UK law on surrogacy was written. The recommendations for reform to the current law is no doubt welcomed by all those engaged in the process. It is bound to be good news for the children involved.
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If you have any queries regarding this article, please contact Charlotte Coyle, Director & Specialist Family Lawyer
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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