Kim Kardashian has recently welcomed her fourth child (and her second) by a surrogate. Celebrities such as Tom Daley, Nicole Kidman, Elton John and even members of the aristocracy (Viscount and Lady Weymouth) have all welcomed children via surrogacy which has raised the profile of surrogacy as an option for childless couples.
Surrogacy can be a complex and emotive subject. At present, the surrogate mother is the legal parent of the child on birth, despite having no biological link to the child. If married, the surrogate’s husband acquires parental responsibility on birth meaning the intended parents have no legal recognition or standing in the eyes of the law.
The current legal system has been described as “outdated and not fit for purpose” by Sir Nicholas Green who is the chair of a Law Commission Report consulting on future proposals for surrogacy cases. The need for a Law Commission report in 2019 reflects the fact that more intended parents are turning to surrogacy as a way to build the family that they long for.
Natalia Lalas, who specialises in surrogacy, welcomes the work carried out by the Law Commission this year. “Any opportunity to reform the law of surrogacy is highly welcomed and very much needed. A well considered review will assist surrogate mothers and intended parents to feel secure and safe during the process of surrogacy and following the birth of the child”
What are the Law Commission’s proposal?
The Commission’s proposals outline better support for the child, intended parents and surrogates. This includes:
- Creating a new pathway for domestic surrogacies, allowing for the intended parents to become the child’s legal parents at birth.
- Allowing the surrogate a short period to object to the intended parents becoming the legal parents of the child.
- The removal of the requirement that one of the intended parents has a genetic link with the child.
- Greater regulation of surrogacy arrangements to ensure high standards and safeguards
Consultation of this reform is open until Friday 27th September 2019 and comments and responses can be sent using the online form https://consult.justice.gov.uk/law-commission/surrogacy.
Already in the process of surrogacy?
If you are currently in the process or considering surrogacy our family team will be able to offer you independent legal advice. Natalia Lalas has a specialist interest in surrogacy law and has experience in helping couples to obtain a legal order following the birth of their child to a surrogate in both the UK and abroad.