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Surrogacy And The Law

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Surrogacy is becoming an ever increasing viable option for many people, particularly with the creation of more diverse family units.

However, the law surrounding this, is arguably unsatisfactory and not keeping up with the pace of change.

The Government therefore agreed to support a three year project by the Law Commission, which commenced in May 2018 to carry out a detailed review of all surrogacy legislation.

When a child is born to a surrogate mother, a parental order is applied for by the commissioning parent(s).  When granted, it transfers both legal parenthood and “parental responsibility” from the surrogate mother (and her husband, if applicable) to the commissioning parent(s).

A significant change from 3rd January 2019 relates to who can apply for a parental order. Previously, relevant legislation only allowed (prescribed) couples to apply for a parental order – not a single person. The Government explained that, at the time, adoption was considered a more appropriate route for single people.  However, the position changed following an amendment, which means that single people can also apply to the Court for a parental order.

As part of the Law Commission’s project, they are considering the legal parentage of a child born by a surrogate mother, and the regulation of surrogacy more widely.  It is also considering the rights of all involved, including the question of a child’s right to access information about their origin, international arrangements and the prevention of exploitation of children and adults.

On 3rd April 2019 the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper considering surrogacy and parental orders “Children: Surrogacy – Single People and Parental Orders (UK)”, which usefully rounds up where matters stand at present.

It will be interesting to see how far the recommendations will go by the Law Commission once their investigation is complete.

If you have any parenting, children or family queries please contact our Specialist Team.