Change surrogacy law in the UK

Change surrogacy law in the UK

Brilliant Beginnings has set the wheels in motion to change surrogacy law in the UK.   The debate was led by Jessica Lee MP and she now needs our help to take this a step further before the end of December 2014.    Help us make it easier for single, infertile and/or LGBT people to create a family.

If you or, someone you know has been through surrogacy or is considering it, please help today by sending a quick e-mail.  It's that easy.  I have drafted a letter below for you to edit, cut and paste onto the body of an e-mail to your MP who can be found here www.writetothem.com

 

Following the debate about surrogacy reform in the UK on the 14th October 2014, I would like to see a change to UK surrogacy law.  I understand that Jessica Lee MP needs to know what other MPs think and it is for that reason I write to you with my views.   I wish to support her efforts.   I am informed that this must be done before the end of December 2014 and therefore time is of the essence.    

  1. I want it to be easier for infertile, single and/or LGBT people to find a surrogate mother in the UK.
  2. The surrogate and intended parents should be able to make a binding contract recording their arrangement including payment to the surrogate at any amount agreed upon.
  3. Intended parents and the surrogate should be on equal legal footing from the start of the process. 
  4. It is unfair that single people cannot apply for a Parental Order giving them legal parent status following surrogacy.
  5. A separate team should be established at the HM Passport Office to expedite passport applications for babies born abroad following a surrogacy arrangement.

 

I would like to know how the government is going to assist families / surrogates to achieve changes to UK surrogacy law. 

 

Please do add some personal details of your experiences and why you want to see change.   Listed above and below are just a few ideas.  There are so many other problems with surrogacy law that are beyond the scope of this blog.  I am happy to discuss them with you by e-mail / phone if you are interested in writing a longer letter to give it more weight.  If you do not have time, don’t worry; just send it as above when you have deleted as appropriate.  Some support to debate / change surrogacy law in the UK is better than none.

You may  copy me into your e-mail (harjit@bestsolicitorsllp.co.uk) if you wish so that we have an idea of how much support there is out there for change.

Thanks!

Harjit

Just some of the current problems with surrogacy law

1 The surrogate is the legal mother and if she is married, her husband is the legal father.  This means that a gay or straight couple who are biologically connected to the child have no legal rights to it until a Parental Order is granted.  We feel that there should be equal footing from the start of the process with pre-birth Orders.

2 Single people can adopt.  However, if a single person uses a married surrogate, he / she can never be the legal parent by way of Parental Order even though he / she is biologically connected to the child.   

3 There is a 6 month deadline from the child's birth to apply for a Parental Order.  This causes a problem because a) many people don't know that they need a Parental Order and miss the deadline b) those forced to seek surrogacy abroad may not get back in time to apply.  The result being that parents can never be the legal parents unless they then adopt the child which is a lengthy and expensive exercise. 

4 It is very difficult to find a surrogate in the UK therefore people are forced to look abroad which is a) very expensive b) very risky due to the different laws c) puts them at risk due to the current passport delays

5 UK surrogates can only be paid 'reasonable expenses' which a) deters ladies from becoming surrogates b) creates uncertainty when trying to define reasonable expenses

Surrogacy agreements are unenforceable which a) makes the surrogate vulnerable and b) makes the intended parents vulnerable

7 The passport office are taking at times more than 16weeks to process first child passports which results in a) the child spending the first 4-6 months of his / her life in a hotel room b) the parents having to spend a fortune on hotel expenses etc. c) the parents risking losing their income in the UK.  The passport office need to set up a specialist team to expedite these applications. 

About the Author

Family law solicitor.