The Law Commission has called for a total reform of surrogacy laws to better support families and children.
In a new report published this month, the regulator – who is in charge of ensuring that the law is fair, modern, simple and cost-effective – said the laws around surrogacy are “outdated”.
While surrogacy is a legal practice in the UK, the report says change is needed to make sure the law works for everyone involved.
Under current legislation, intended parents must make an application to the court after the surrogate child has been born, and they do not become legal parents until the court grants them a parental order. This process can sometimes take months to complete.
The new law, however, proposes that intended parents can become legal parents as soon as the child is born, subject to the surrogate retaining a right to object for a short period after the birth.
According to the Law Commission, the proposed new “pathway” or legal process would bring “greater certainty” and “put the child at the heart of the process” and provide both the surrogate and intended parents comfort and confidence.
Commenting on the report, Sir Nicholas Green, Chair of the Law Commission said: “More and more people are turning to surrogacy to have a child and start their family. We, therefore, need to make sure that the process is meeting the needs of all those involved.
“However, the laws around surrogacy are outdated and no longer fit for purpose. We think our proposals will create a system that works for the surrogates, the parents and, most importantly, the child.”
The latest statistics suggest that surrogacy is becoming more common in the UK, and while official figures have yet to be confirmed, the number of children being born through a surrogate could be as many as 10 times higher as it was a decade ago.
Full details of the proposed reforms can be found here.