Surrogacy Law: The Law Commission expected to publish its final report & draft Bill in 12 days - Boodle Hatfield

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17 Mar 2023

Surrogacy Law: The Law Commission expected to publish its final report & draft Bill in 12 days

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Pippa Cook View profile
2 min read

It cannot be overstated how outdated and antiquated current laws surrounding surrogacy are. Written nearly 40 years ago, the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 was introduced at a time when surrogacy was extremely rare, reproductive medicine was still in its infancy, homophobia was alarmingly commonplace and there was no legal recognition for same-sex couples. Today, we find ourselves in a different position entirely; the number of parents using surrogates in England and Wales has quadrupled in the last 10 years alone.

Earlier today, we are pleased to see that The Law Commission has shed some more light on timings, noting "After having completed our analysis, we are now formulating final policy and finalising the detail of the scheme that we will recommend to Government. We have also been working with Parliamentary drafters to produce a bill. We will publish the final report alongside the draft Bill on 29 March 2023".

One of the main difficulties with the current law is that the intended parents are not automatically the child’s legal parents from birth. It is envisaged that the Bill will include mechanisms to streamline the parental order process, providing a pathway to parenthood with pre-conception safeguards to protect the interests of all those involved in a surrogacy arrangement. It is also expected that the intended parents would be noted as the legal parents of the child from birth, subject to the surrogate’s right to object during a defined period. Such a shift in the legal presumption would make a monumental difference both to intended parents and surrogate mothers.

There is much debate as to whether the proposals go far enough, but the consensus among specialists is that these are much needed steps in the right direction. The precise contents of the final report and draft Bill are, however, not yet set in stone and at this stage we remain unclear as to exactly what will be included. The publication of the final report and draft Bill have been previously delayed and these are now eagerly anticipated by intended parents, surrogate mothers and family practitioners alike in 12 days' time.

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"After having completed our analysis, we are now formulating final policy and finalising the detail of the scheme that we will recommend to Government. We have also been working with Parliamentary drafters to produce a bill. We will publish the final report alongside the draft Bill on 29 March 2023".

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