The Scottish Law Commission and the Law Commission of England and Wales have begun their joint review of the laws on surrogacy.
The project forms part of each Commission’s current Programme of Law Reform and the UK Government has referred the project to both Commissions as a joint project. The Law Commission of England and Wales has now been granted the necessary funding by the UK Government.
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 process is governed by the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 and certain provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Acts 1990 and 2008. However, there are problems with the law and the Commissions have already identified three potential areas of concern:
- Difficulties with parental orders – a parental order transfers parentage from the surrogate mother to the intended parents. But that process can only happen after the baby is born and is subject to conditions which may require reform.
- International surrogacy – the uncertainty in the current law may encourage use of international arrangements, where there are concerns about exploitation of surrogates.
- How surrogacy is regulated – the rules governing how surrogacy is undertaken should be brought up to date and further improved.
The Law Commissions will now undertake a joint three-year project to develop law reform recommendations that work for everyone. This will involve extensive public consultation, with the Commissions aiming to publish a consultation paper within a year.
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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.