Changing UK Surrogacy Laws – Our Campaign

Responding to the Law Commissions’ consultation

REFORM AREA 5: Creation of a national surrogacy register so those born through surrogacy can access information about their origins

Questions 21 to 27 in the Short Form Survey relate to the bundle of proposals discussed below.

There are two parts to our guidance on this bundle of reforms:

  1. A summary of the Law Commissions’ provisional proposals 
  2. Surrogacy UK’s emerging views on the provisional proposals (please note these are provisional views that will evolve as we consult with our members and the surrogacy community)
SUMMARY OF THE LAW COMMISSIONS’ PROVISIONAL PROPOSALS 
OVERVIEW: The consultation paper makes a provisional proposal for the creation of a national register of surrogacy arrangements that would record key information in relation to each child born following a surrogacy arrangement
BIRTH CERTIFICATES:
  • The consultation document proposes that the full form (not short form) birth certificate should make clear that the birth was the result of a surrogacy arrangement. However, the current policy of the General Register Office now means that short form certificates are likely to be issued increasingly rarely. In light of that development the Commission will have to revisit the question of how, if at all, a birth certificate should state that the child was born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement
A NATIONAL REGISTER OF SURROGACY ARRANGEMENTS:
  • The register would allow for surrogacy arrangements in both the new pathway and the PO route to be recorded
  • It would disclose information about origins in the context of a surrogacy birth including the identity of the IPs, the surrogate and any other gamete donors
  • Information about gamete donors would be the same as is recorded in the Register of Information maintained by the Authority
  • The register would apply to both traditional and gestational surrogacy arrangements. In traditional arrangements there would need to be medical verification of who provided the sperm
ACCESS TO THE REGISTER:
  • The consultation document proposes that a child born through surrogacy should be able to access identifying information from the age of 18 and non-identifying information from the age of 16. In order to access the information, they must be given a suitable opportunity to receive implications counselling 
  • The document asks if children under 16 or 18 should be able to access information if certain conditions are met e.g. their legal parents have consented
  • The Law Commissions ask if people who were carried by the same surrogate should be able to use the register to identify each other 
  • They also ask if someone carried by a surrogate and the surrogate’s child/children should be able to use the register to identify each other
  • Finally, the Law Commissions ask if, under the PO route, details of an intended parent who is not party to the PO should be recorded in the register
A CHILD’S ACCESS TO COURT RECORDS:
  • The Law Commissions propose that, from the age of 18, those who have been subject to a PO, should be able to see all documents contained in the court’s file, including witness statements made to support the parental order application.
WHAT ARE SURROGACY UK’S EMERGING VIEWS ON THE PROVISIONAL PROPOSALS? 

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE PROVISIONAL VIEWS THAT WILL EVOLVE AS WE CONSULT WITH OUR MEMBERS AND THE SURROGACY COMMUNITY

OUR VIEW: Research suggests that children born through surrogacy and assisted reproduction have the best outcomes when parents are honest and confident with them about their origins from an early age. This is also supported by our own experience of surrogacy and the many families that we have supported. We are therefore supportive of these proposals by the Law Commissions. We feel that the types of information that could be disclosed and the process for doing this are appropriate.

We are unsure whether all documents submitted to a court relating to a surrogacy arrangement should be disclosed to a person born through surrogacy. In particular, financial and medical records, which are personal to the surrogate and IPs, may not be appropriate for full disclosure.

Click here to download the Short Form Survey and respond to the Law Commissions’ provisional proposals. Questions 21 to 27 are relevant this this reform area.

Back to intro page or click on the reform areas below to learn more:

Reform Area 1 Creation of a new pathway that allows intended parents to be legal parents from birth
Reform Area 2 Specific requirements and safeguards that are mandated for entry into the New Pathway
Reform Area 3 A regulator for surrogacy and regulated surrogacy organisations
Reform Area 4 Double donation (no genetic link to IPs required) could be permitted under the New Pathway in domestic surrogacy
Reform Area 5 Creation of a national surrogacy register so those born through surrogacy can access information about their origins
Reform Area 6 The Law Commission asks an open question about what kinds of payments should be allowed in surrogacy arrangements
Reform Area 7 For international surrogacy arrangements the Law Commission proposes reform and guidance to make it easier to bring a surrogate child back to the UK