November 2016 – Surrogacy Law Reform

November 2016 – Surrogacy Law Reform

Thank you for your recent email regarding surrogacy.

Surrogacy is a way forward for couples who cannot have their own children and I understand that this is a highly complex area. The Government recommends that, ideally, surrogacy should take place in the UK, with sound legal advice and the use of licenced premises.

The current law aims to strike a balance between protecting the rights of the surrogate mother and her family, the child and the commissioning couple. The child’s welfare remains the paramount consideration. Commercial surrogacy is illegal in the UK and the Government has no plans to change this. The current legislation allows for altruistic surrogacy arrangements and for not-for-profit surrogacy organisations to assist individuals.

At present, the surrogate mother is the legally recognised parent at birth in the UK. Therefore, for people who use surrogacy services at home or abroad, it is advisable subsequently to apply for a parental order to achieve a recognisable transfer of parenthood. This provides legal certainty and may provide psychological benefits to the child’s identity.

Surrogacy is an evolving issue and I know that Government departments have been working together with interested parties to improve the information and guidance available to parents considering surrogacy so that they have a full understanding of the processes involved, as well as safeguarding the welfare of the child.

The Government has recently accepted a High Court ruling which allows single parents to apply for a parental order to obtain full legal parenthood The Government will be looking to update the relevant legislation and is now considering how best to do this. The Government also recognises the arguments for the need for a review of surrogacy law and the Law Commission has been seeking views on whether to commence a project on surrogacy law reform in 2017.

Thank you again for contacting me.