UK Surrogacy: proposals for overdue legislation reform

The Regulation Fee lately printed their closing suggestions for UK surrogacy legislation reform, following an intensive undertaking that started in 2018.

Their proposals search to modernise UK surrogacy legislation, and enhance assist for kids, surrogates, and supposed mother and father, while making certain that UK surrogacy stays an altruistic somewhat than a industrial endeavour. Stowe Companion and surrogacy lawyer, Liza Gatrell, explains extra.

UK Surrogacy: proposals for overdue legislation reform

Following a public session in 2019, the Regulation Fee launched its suggestions for a comprehensive overhaul of UK surrogacy laws final week. The suggestions embrace a draft invoice that, if authorized by Parliament, might turn out to be legislation.

Using surrogacy preparations for household constructing has elevated in recent times however UK legal guidelines haven’t stored tempo, rendering them outdated and never match for function. This causes an added layer of complexity and stress to what must be a cheerful time.

What’s surrogacy?

Surrogacy is the place a lady carries and provides delivery to a baby for the supposed mother and father. The surrogacy might be conventional, whereby the surrogate additionally donates her egg, or gestational, the place she has no genetic hyperlink to the kid.

What’s fallacious with present surrogacy legislation?

Beneath the present UK surrogacy legislation, the surrogate will all the time be the kid’s authorized guardian and if she is married her husband or spouse will robotically be the second authorized guardian. That is the case even when the surrogate has no genetic hyperlinks to the kid. If the surrogate is single then it’s doable for one of many supposed mother and father to be the second authorized guardian. The supposed mother and father should then make an utility to court docket inside 6 months of the kid’s delivery for a parental order, which re-assigns the authorized parentage to the supposed mother and father.

Why is change wanted to UK surrogacy legislation?

Current surrogacy legal guidelines, which date again to the Nineteen Eighties, ceaselessly fall in need of offering sufficient safety for the surrogate or the supposed mother and father. Surrogacy agreements are unenforceable and there’s no scrutiny of surrogacy preparations till after the infant has been born, by which level it’s arguably too late. The shortcoming to acquire a pre delivery order within the UK leads many supposed mother and father to journey abroad, that means they’re then confronted with elevated expense, immigrations legal guidelines that they need to additionally navigate, and considerations concerning the exploitation of girls and kids.

The UK surrogacy legal guidelines have all the time been altruistic in nature, somewhat than industrial, and it will proceed, however beneath the proposed modifications the supposed mother and father can be recognised because the authorized mother and father from delivery (topic to the surrogate’s consent). That is way more in keeping with the shared intentions that the surrogate and the supposed mother and father have proper from the beginning.

The brand new surrogacy pathway

The reforms will apply to UK preparations solely. Supposed mother and father that journey overseas for his or her surrogacy association will nonetheless have to make an utility for a parental order.

The brand new pathway will enable the supposed mother and father to be recognised because the authorized mother and father from delivery, topic to sure necessities and safeguards being met, these are:

  • An settlement between the surrogate and the supposed mother and father
  • A preconception evaluation of the welfare of the kid to be born by the association
  • Unbiased authorized recommendation for the supposed mother and father and the surrogate
  • Implications counselling to be undertaken by the supposed mother and father and the surrogate
  • Medical screening for the supposed mother and father and the surrogate
  • Enhanced legal document checks
  • Settlement of a Regulated Surrogacy Organisation to allow the association onto the brand new pathway

There may be additionally urged reform to the funds that may be made to surrogates to make clear what constitutes a “cheap expense”, which can present a lot wanted readability.

Authorised funds might be:

  • Prices associated to the choice to enter an settlement

Unauthorised funds might be:

The surrogacy reforms will see the creation of regulated our bodies, referred to as Regulated Surrogacy Organisations (RSOs), non-profit organisations ruled by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). They’ll oversee agreements beneath the brand new pathway and supply assist to surrogates and supposed mother and father.

Reforms to the parental order course of

Parental orders will nonetheless be wanted for worldwide preparations, however some reforms to the method have been really helpful. One reform is to allow a parental order to be made with out the consent of the surrogate the place the welfare of the kid required it.

It is usually really helpful that the surrogate’s partner shouldn’t be a authorized guardian and so their consent won’t be required for parental order to be granted.

A brand new surrogacy register

A brand new register can be created to permit anybody born by means of surrogacy to entry details about their origins. Kids born through surrogacy in England and Wales will have the ability to entry non figuring out data at age 16 and figuring out data from age 18. In Scotland each can be from age 16.


These reforms don’t go so far as some would have preferred, however they do imply that UK surrogacy agreements might be higher supported and controlled, which is welcome information. It’s now for the Authorities to contemplate these suggestions. Watch this area.

Helpful hyperlinks

Why we’d like surrogacy legislation reform

Worldwide surrogacy – what you could know

UK surrogacy legislation FAQs

A concentrate on surrogate consent and parental orders