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Surrogacy UK Law - Proposals to reform complex laws

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On Thursday 6 June, the Law Commission released their consultation paper on surrogacy reform, to better support the child, surrogates and intended parents.

More and more people are turning to surrogacy to start a family but the surrogacy laws that govern it came into effect in the mid-1980s and need updating. The Government has recognised that surrogacy is a legitimate way of building a family and has also recognised that changes are needed to surrogacy  law to make sure that the law works for everyone.

Legal parenthood

Where the surrogacy is domestic, the proposal for UK surrogacy law is to allow for intended parents to become legal parents when the child is born. Intended parents would no longer need to make an application to the court but there will be safeguards in place, for example, the surrogate will retain a right to object for a short period after the birth. This should provide greater certainty and put the child at the heart of the process.

Existing Parental Order process will continue in certain circumstances

This will largely cover international arrangements and the Law Commission proposes some changes to the existing criteria, so that there is more clarity for intended parents and to make the overall process easier.

Surrogacy regulator

The creation of a surrogacy regulator will supervise surrogacy organisations who oversee the arrangements which fall within the new process.   

National surrogacy register

The creation of this register will allow those born of a surrogacy arrangement to access information about their origins. It’s proposed that non-identifying information will be available for a surrogate child at the age of 16 and identifying information will be available at the age of 18.

Surrogacy payments

There is a lack of clarity around surrogacy payments. The Law Commission is not putting forward proposals around payments to surrogates at this time, but the consultation includes questions around the categories of payments that intended parents should be able to pay to the surrogate. 

Passports

The paper proposes to streamline and shorten the process to obtain a passport or visa in international surrogacy cases.

Next steps

The formal consultation period has begun on surrogacy UK law and will end on 27 September 2019. If you have any views or comments, now is the time to put them forward. You can respond to the consultation on the Law Commission’s website. ]

If you'd like to discuss any of the topics raised in this blog, please contact our Family Team.

Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.