Proposed Changes to the Law around Surrogacy
- AuthorAngela Killa
The much-anticipated report on Surrogacy from The Law Commission was published on 29 March 2023. It has been 6 years in the making and the result of an in-depth consultation process. The report, also accompanied with a draft bill, proposes a number of changes to the law around surrogacy. Current law can be a slow process, fraught with insecurity for the surrogate (the woman carrying the child) and the 'intended parents' - the people or person who plans to raise the child.
In summary, the report makes the following key proposals:
- A new pathway to legal parenthood would be open to persons entering surrogacy arrangements in the UK which enable intended parents to be legal parents from birth instead of the delayed process currently in place. This current process can take several months and has the intended parents and surrogate in limbo for that time.
- The pathway should provide safeguards and have requirements to satisfy which are aimed at ensuring that surrogacy is the right decision for the intended parents and the surrogate. As part of this it is envisaged the welfare of the child born is protected.
- Recommendations about payments to surrogates intend to provide clarity and protect surrogates against exploitation.
- The creation of regulated bodies called ‘Regulated Surrogacy Organisations’ (non-profit-making bodies regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)) will oversee agreements under the new pathway, providing important support to the surrogate and the intended parents.
- For those not using the new pathway, the report suggests changes to the current parental order process such as a provision for the court to make a parental order without the consent of the surrogate as long as the welfare of the child requires that an order be made.
- A proposed register will enable people born of surrogacy agreements to access information about their origins.
- It is recommended that changes are made to improve employment rights for intended parents and ensure a surrogate is treated in the same way as any woman who is pregnant. Additionally, the intended parents are treated in the same way as any other person with a new child.
- Where a child is born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement outside the UK, some limited changes to the law are recommended with the provision of broad guidance on nationality and immigration matters, intended to lessen delays for those families bringing a child back to the UK.
The report and draft bill will need to be considered further by the Government who will decide whether proposed changes should be incorporated into law, there is no current indication as to when they will consider matters so watch this space!
Resolution is providing a comprehensive update on emergent issues in children and family law on Thursday 15 June 2023 in Broadway House, London. As a committee member with Resolution, Angela Killa will be delivering a session discussing the Surrogacy Law Reform - A deep dive into the Law Commissions' final report and draft bill. You can find out more about the event and book your place here.