UK surrogacy laws to be reviewed and reformed.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The surrogacy laws in the United Kingdom are about to be reviewed with the proposed changes intended to make the surrogacy process simpler and more transparent. At present the intended parents of the child must obtain a court order which can take up to 6 weeks or in some cases up to a year before parental responsibility can be granted.

The proposed reforms and changes to the surrogacy law will allow the intended parents to have these rights from birth however the surrogate could withdraw the parental rights of the intended parents within these 6 weeks. In addition, the proposed reform would see a surrogacy register being formed so that children born from a surrogate could trace their birth origins later in life.

The review is also recommending that it is made easier and quicker for intended parents in the UK that use an overseas surrogate to bring their child home. This would be made possible making the passport and visa application to be processed prior to the birth.

As the demand for surrogacy has increased in recent years the present legal pathway to parenthood within surrogacy is deemed outdated with the last reforms dating back 40 years ago. Life and society have moved on in so many ways that the reforms are much welcomed although some campaigners argue there is more change needed. There are and have been shortfalls for all parties involved and the right level of protection for all needs to be implemented and guaranteed.

Professor Nick Hopkins, family law commissioner at the Law Commission, said: “The use of surrogacy to form a family has increased in recent years, but our decades-old laws are outdated and not fit for purpose.

“Under current law, surrogacy agreements are often a complex and stressful process for all involved.

“We need a more modern set of laws that work in the best interests of the child, surrogate, and intended parents. Our reforms will ensure that surrogacy agreements are well-regulated, with support and security built into the system from the very beginning.

“By introducing a new regulatory route with greater legal certainty, transparency and safeguards against exploitation, we can ensure that we have an effective regime for surrogacy agreements that places the interests of the child at their heart.”

The commission are now waiting for the UK Government to decide whether the recommendations should become law.