September 28, 2023

The Legislation Fee just lately printed their last suggestions for UK surrogacy legislation reform, following an in depth venture that started in 2018.

Their proposals search to modernise UK surrogacy legislation, and enhance help for kids, surrogates, and supposed dad and mom, while guaranteeing that UK surrogacy stays an altruistic fairly than a business endeavour. Stowe Companion and surrogacy lawyer, Liza Gatrell, explains extra.

UK Surrogacy: proposals for overdue legislation reform

Following a public session in 2019, the Legislation Fee launched its suggestions for a comprehensive overhaul of UK surrogacy laws final week. The suggestions embody a draft invoice that, if accredited by Parliament, may change into 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household constructing has elevated in recent times however UK legal guidelines haven’t stored tempo, rendering them outdated and never match for goal. This causes an added layer of complexity and stress to what ought to be a cheerful time.

What’s surrogacy?

Surrogacy is the place a lady carries and offers delivery to a toddler for the supposed dad and mom. The surrogacy will be conventional, whereby the surrogate additionally donates her egg, or gestational, the place she has no genetic hyperlink to the kid.

What’s incorrect with present surrogacy legislation?

Underneath the present UK surrogacy legislation, the surrogate will all the time be the kid’s authorized mum or dad and if she is married her husband or spouse will mechanically be the second authorized mum or dad. That is the case even when the surrogate has no genetic hyperlinks to the kid. If the surrogate is single then it’s potential for one of many supposed dad and mom to be the second authorized mum or dad. The supposed dad and mom 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 dad and mom.

Why is change wanted to UK surrogacy legislation?

Current surrogacy legal guidelines, which date again to the Eighties, continuously fall in need of offering satisfactory safety for the surrogate or the supposed dad and mom. Surrogacy agreements are unenforceable and there’s no scrutiny of surrogacy preparations till after the newborn has been born, by which level it’s arguably too late. The lack to acquire a pre delivery order within the UK leads many supposed dad and mom to journey abroad, that means they’re then confronted with elevated expense, immigrations legal guidelines that they need to additionally navigate, and considerations in regards to the exploitation of ladies and youngsters.

The UK surrogacy legal guidelines have all the time been altruistic in nature, fairly than business, and this can proceed, however beneath the proposed adjustments the supposed dad and mom could be recognised because the authorized dad and mom from delivery (topic to the surrogate’s consent). That is much more in keeping with the shared intentions that the surrogate and the supposed dad and mom have proper from the beginning.

The brand new surrogacy pathway

The reforms will apply to UK preparations solely. Meant dad and mom that journey overseas for his or her surrogacy association will nonetheless must make an utility for a parental order.

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

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

There’s additionally advised reform to the funds that may be made to surrogates to make clear what constitutes a “affordable expense”, which is able to present a lot wanted readability.

Authorised funds will probably be:

  • Prices associated to the choice to enter an settlement

Unauthorised funds will probably 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 help to surrogates and supposed dad and mom.

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 useful. 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’s also really useful that the surrogate’s partner shouldn’t be a authorized mum or dad and so their consent won’t be required for parental order to be granted.

A brand new surrogacy register

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


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

Helpful hyperlinks

Why we’d like surrogacy legislation reform

Worldwide surrogacy – what it’s good to know

UK surrogacy legislation FAQs

A deal with surrogate consent and parental orders