Call for surrogacy reform

26 November 2015

Report busts widely-held misconceptions of UK surrogacy

A major report has called for an overhaul of UK surrogacy law.

Surrogacy in the UK: Myth busting and reform aims to disprove many commonly-held misconceptions, eg that couples go abroad to find a surrogate and that UK surrogacy could be commercialised. On the contrary, it found that far fewer Britons seek surrogacy overseas than previously thought, that the vast majority of people use a surrogate in the UK, and that most UK surrogates receive less than £15,000 for out-of-pocket expenses incurred.

It calls for legal reform to: ensure the welfare and interests of surrogate-born children are the prime concern of the law; remove uncertainty over parenthood by introducing pre-authorisation of parental orders; broaden access to surrogacy; and guard the principle of altruistic surrogacy.

The report, published by Surrogacy UK, was written by legal academic Dr Kirsty Horsey.

Horsey says: “The concepts of family and reproduction have changed dramatically since surrogacy law was formed in this country, yet there seems to have been a reluctance to review what is now outdated legislation.”

Three-quarters of respondents to a survey for the report want legal reform to remove the legal uncertainty over parenthood at birth, and 69% were opposed to a surrogate being able to change their mind about giving a baby to its intended parents.

Louisa Ghevaert, surrogacy lawyer and partner at law firm Michelmores LLP, says: “This report shines a light on the reality of surrogacy in the UK.

“Surrogacy law is outdated and it leaves surrogate born children and their families in limbo. Legal reform is needed to provide much needed clarity to people undertaking surrogacy in the UK, to reflect their needs and wishes and to protect the welfare of surrogate born children.”


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