The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission have called for ‘archaic’ surrogacy laws to be updated to better support the surrogate and intended parents while prioritising the child in question.
The proposals include allowing intended parents to acquire legal responsibility for a surrogate child when the child is born, rather than applying through the courts. Other proposals included launching a national register that allows children born through surrogacy to access information about their genetic origins.
Under current legislation, a new parent must apply for a parental order or adoption to become the legal parent of a child born via surrogacy. In order to do so, an intended parent must be genetically related (either as the egg or sperm donor) to the child.
The parental order must be made within the first six months of the child’s birth; however, the Law Commission has argued that it ‘doesn’t reflect the reality of the child’s family life’ as the process itself can take months to complete.
Chair of the Law Commission, Sir Nicholas Green, commented:
“More and more people are turning to surrogacy to have a child and start their family. We therefore need to make sure that the process is meeting the needs of all those involved.
“We think our proposals will create a system that works for the surrogates, the parents and, most importantly, the child.”
With the number of children born via surrogacy 10 times higher than it was a decade ago, the consultation – Building families through surrogacy: a new law – asks the public how surrogacy laws could be improved to reflect current family circumstances and support everyone involved in the surrogacy process.
Questions surrounding the kinds of payments that intended parents should be permitted to make to the surrogate will also be reviewed in the consultation.
The consultation, which closes on the 27th September 2019, can be accessed here.
Whether you are an intended parent or a surrogate, it is important to gain legal advice to ensure you fully understand the surrogacy process before entering into an agreement. Get in touch with Child Law Partnership Child & Family Lawyers today via the online enquiry form.