A joint review of British surrogacy law is now underway to ensure the legislation remains fit for purpose. 

Surrogacy is where a woman bears a child on behalf of someone else or a couple who then intend to become the child’s parents.

The review is being conducted by the Scottish Law Commission and the Law Commission of England and Wales, and will consider the legal parentage of children born via surrogacy, and the regulation of surrogacy more widely. It will take account of the rights of all involved, including the question of a child’s right to access information about their origin, and the prevention of exploitation of children and adults.

Sometimes surrogacy can be the only way for people to have children with a genetic link to them. In the UK, it is becoming more common and it’s thought that the number of babies born via surrogacy could be ten times higher than it was a decade ago.

However, the Commissions have identified three main potential areas of concern with the current legislative framework: difficulties with parental orders; international surrogacy; and how surrogacy is regulated.

“Our society has moved on from when surrogacy laws were first introduced 30 years ago and, now, they are not fit for purpose,” explained Law Commissioner for England and Wales Professor Nick Hopkins. “For many, having a child is the best day of their lives and surrogacy can be the only option for some who want a genetic link to the baby. But the issues are difficult and there is no quick fix.”

“Now we want all those with an interest to get involved and help us make the law fit for the modern world,” he added.

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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.