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Surrogacy law reforms published today - Harriet Errington speaks on BBC News

Hopeful parents, surrogate mothers and family practitioners alike will breathe a sigh of relief to see the long-awaited proposals for the reform of surrogacy law in England and Wales released today. Written nearly 40 years ago, current surrogacy law is completely out of step with modern fertility practices and the modern family as we now know it. In recent years, surrogacy has seen a surge in popularity with the number of parents using surrogates in England and Wales has quadrupled in the last 10 years alone. This is, in part, because of the progress in recognising the rights of same-sex couples, but also heterosexual couples are having children later and may encounter difficulties conceiving naturally.

The draft legislation and report, published by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission, outlines recommendations for a robust new system to govern surrogacy. The report and draft legislation summaries a new regulatory regime for surrogacy that offers clarity, safeguards and support – for the child, the surrogate and the parents who will raise the child (“the intended parents”).

In short, the proposed changes confirm legal parenthood from birth for the intended parents, provide new safeguards, create a Surrogacy Register, and establish new rules for payments to the surrogate mother. A new system governing surrogacies would also come into force to scrutinise arrangements pre-conception. And retaining the approach under current law, only altruistic surrogacy agreements will be permitted, with 'for profit' commercial arrangements continuing to be 'strictly prohibited'.

The project began back in 2018 and five years later, whilst there is clearly scope for more to be done, we have made significant progress and it is certainly a step in the right direction. It is now for the Government to review and consider the recommendations and in any event, provide an interim response within six months of publication of the Report and a full response within a year.

Family Partner, Harriet Errington appeared on BBC News at 9 on 29 March 2023 to discuss the reforms. The segment starts at 09:47 and can be accessed here.

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The Law Commission of England and Wales has published its joint report with the Scottish Law Commission, outlining recommendations for a robust new system to govern surrogacy, which will work better for children, surrogates and intended parents. Our recommendations are accompanied by draft legislation.


family, family law, family and divorce, surrogacy, surrogacy law