Following on from last week’s National Surrogacy Week, we take a look back in the highly anticipated Surrogacy report.
In March 2023 we eagerly received the Surrogacy Report from the Law Commission. This report set out a number of proposals for reform to the law around surrogacy.
The reforms were highly anticipated particularly as surrogacy has been stuck in time for the last 30 years. Families and their dynamics have changed and although the Courts are trying to assist as many intended parents as possible, the law simply needed to catch up.
The laws around surrogacy were initially introduced under the Surrogacy Agreements Act 1985. It was not until 2019 that a single person was allowed to apply for a Parental Order. Before this, only couples who were in an enduring relationship were entitled to make such applications. The lack of change on this point shows how differently people view and consider families now. The Court has for a period of time found creative solutions to assist intended parents with the complications faced throughout the surrogacy process. However, leaving such issues to the Court means that there is usually a period of time where children are left in a state of legal limbo and this can cause considerable stress to not only intended parents but to surrogates as well. Currently the law is as follows: –
The Report has set out some proposed changes aimed to address the issues we face under the current legislation.
The Report also made some suggestions of how to improve the process for those intended parents who decide international surrogacy would be best for them. It is quite clear that there are important areas for change. If these changes are implemented there will be significant improvement. However, it may be that more needs to be done.
The Law Commission report only makes proposals as to how the law should be reformed but it does not yet change the law. It is therefore important that the government seriously considers the recommendations made. However, the proposed reforms put forward by the Law Commission will likely be more welcomed by people who are fortunate enough to find a surrogate through a regulated surrogacy organisation. Many people still have an informal surrogate arrangement which can be fraught with potential difficulties for all concerned.
The Report has a number of welcomed proposals that will greatly assist many intended parents and surrogates. Hopefully, the government will take on a number of the proposals and will consider the wider issue of surrogacy arrangements carried out domestically and through family members and friends which are perhaps not as formal as those carried out internationally.
Pinney Talfourd support both intended parents and surrogates in terms of the legal process. If you are seeking surrogacy legal advice, please feel free to contact our Family team lawyers, Louise Eady or Remyhs Baker.
The above is meant to be only advice and is correct as of the time of posting. This article was written by Remyhs Baker, Associate in the Family team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of August 2023.