Press Release: SurrogacyUK’s Response to the Law Commissions Consultation

ALMOST 95% OF SURROGATES WOULD SUPPORT A CHANGE IN THE LAW SO THAT THEY ARE NO LONGER RECOGNISED AS THE MOTHER OF THE CHILD AT BIRTH, ACCORDING TO A SURVEY CARRIED OUT BY SURROGACYUK. THE SURVEY RESULTS ARE PUBLISHED AS THE ORGANISATION CALLS ON THE LAW COMMISSION TO GO FURTHER WITH THEIR PROPOSED REFORMS TO THE UK’S OUTDATED SURROGACY LAWS

An overwhelming majority of surrogates support a change to the law to ensure they are not recognised as the mother of the child at birth. Almost 95% of surrogates who took part in a survey carried out last month said the intended parents should be recognised as the legal parents from birth. The survey, involving 72 surrogates, also highlighted the surrogates support for the UK’s current altruistic model, with just under 7% of surrogates saying they believe it is acceptable to pay a surrogate for her services.

SurrogacyUK, a-not-for profit organisation which supports the creation of families through altruistic surrogacy, carried out the survey and is calling on the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission to go further with their proposals for reform of the UK’s surrogacy laws. 

In a detailed response to the Law Commissions’ proposals, which is published today: 

  • SurrogacyUK supports a surrogate’s right to object, but calls for provision for the intended parents to remain as the legal parents unless a court determines otherwise. However, under the Law Commissions’ proposals if a surrogate objects to the intended parents being the legal parents of the child she carries, legal parenthood is automatically stripped from the intended parents and given to the surrogate (whether she wants it or not). Currently the law provides that a surrogate is the legal parent at birth and intended parents must apply for a parental order to be granted, a process which can take an average of 6-9 months.
  • SurrogacyUK calls for improvements to be made to the existing not-for-profit expenses model.
  • SurrogacyUK proposes that surrogacy be considered a “benefit to society provided by private individuals” and that surrogates be conferred with benefits similar to those of foster carers, ie expenses shielded from income tax, national insurance and means tested benefits, while also recognising the need to ensure the intended parents are given the same employment rights as any other pregnancy, with adjustments made to recognise the specific needs of a surrogacy pregnancy.  

SurrogacyUK has, however, welcomed many of the Law Commissions’ proposals for reform including the following:

  • The recognition of double donation in surrogacy arrangements ie where fully donated gametes/embryos are from known donors and the intended parents are not genetically related to the child. Currently there is a requirement that intended parents have a genetic link to the child.
  • The right for intended parents to be recognised as legal parents from birth ie provision for legal parenthood to transfer from surrogates to intended parents at birth through a new administrative process – the surrogacy pathway – rather than through an application to the courts some months post-birth, as is the current position.

The regulation of significant services provided to domestic surrogacy arrangements ie the introduction of regulatory oversight of surrogacy organisations for the first time, establishing a new regulator that sets standards, encourages best practice, monitors compliance and publishes data.

To read SurrogacyUK’s full paper please click here

Surrogacy UK:

SurrogacyUK is a leading not-for-profit organisation that has supported the birth of over 250 children through altruistic surrogacy in the UK and has actively campaigned for and contributed to legal changes and public policy initiatives to improve the experience and outcomes for people involved in surrogacy.  Recently this has included collaborating with the Department of Health to produce the world’s first official public guidance for surrogacy (February 2018), undertaking the UK’s largest survey of surrogate and intended parent attitudes towards surrogacy (December 2018) and promoting the successful campaign to legalise single parent surrogacy in the UK (December 2018).  SurrogacyUK co-founded the All Party Parliamentary Group for Surrogacy and is a member of the Association of Fertility Patient Organisations, which consults with the HFEA, the proposed surrogacy regulator, on patient interests.

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