Surrogacy – past, present and future

6 August 2019

Surrogacy is a term that was virtually unheard of 15 years ago.  To this day some people view it as a taboo subject and something which is akin to 'playing god'.  However, gestational surrogacy is over 33 years old and was first achieved in April 1986.  Since then there has been a huge rise in the number of babies being born through surrogacy largely due to medical advances, legal reform and celebrity surrogacy stories.

In the UK in 2018, there were over 460 applications for a Parental Order.  A Parental Order is the court order which recognises the intended parents as the legal parents of a child born via a surrogacy arrangement.  There has been a lot of positive forward movement in relation to the issue of surrogacy in not only raising the awareness of it but also in attempting to make it more accessible.  In 2018 Parliament passed a Remedial Order which made it possible for single people to have a child via surrogacy.  After much campaigning regarding the outdated current legislation relating to surrogacy, the Law Commission have been tasked with reviewing the current laws and highlighting those that are in need of reform such as the lack of clarity over 'reasonable expenses' and the need for safeguards to be put in place.  The consultation will close on 11 October 2019 and the Law Commission's project will then enter the policy development stage.

The future looks bright for surrogacy.  The Law Commission are suggesting sensible reforms which are focused on protecting all parties by providing clear pathways, specific regulation and pragmatic safeguards.  This along with the continued medical advances gives us a very real hope that surrogacy will thrive and provide people with the chance to create a family.

If you would like to learn more about surrogacy or have any questions on fertility law then please contact our family team who would be happy to help.

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