A landmark report, which highlights results from the largest unprecedented surrogacy survey undertaken in the UK, was published earlier this week by Surrogacy UK, a not-for-profit organisation which is run by surrogate mothers and intended parent members.
According to the report – Surrogacy in the UK: Myth busting and reform – there is clear evidence that the vast majority of British people who require surrogacy are pursuing their dream of parenthood within the UK, completely overturning the recent debates, media coverage and public perception that large numbers of intended parents are travelling overseas to find surrogates.
Written by senior lecturer, Dr Kirsty Horsey at the University of Kent as part of a Working Group on Surrogacy Law Reform which include Surrogacy UK, The Progress Educational Trust, and practising surrogacy lawyer, Louisa Ghevaert, the report overwhelmingly provides evidence for the need of legal reform of the UK’s 30-year-old, out-dated surrogacy law.
UK surrogacy law remains unchanged
Although there has been a sea change in the way that surrogacy is accessed globally, little has changed to the UK’s surrogacy law since its inception; the surrogate is always the legal mother of any child they give birth to, and has the right to keep the child, even if they are not genetically related. After the birth, the often lengthy process of obtaining a parental order is required, which transfers parenthood to the intended parents. Not surprisingly, the report highlighted that 75% of survey respondents were in support of providing a reformed legal framework. Both surrogates and intended parents want to remove the legal uncertainty over parenthood at the point of birth by introducing pre-authorised parental orders, thus protecting the welfare of the child, the surrogate and the intended parents. In fact, 69% of surrogates are opposed to the right to change their mind about giving a baby to the intended parents, and only 5% agree that a surrogate should be able to change her mind at any point.
The report’s findings also contradicted the perception that surrogacy in the UK is often conducted on a ‘reasonable expenses’ commercial basis. In fact, it found that UK surrogacy is overwhelmingly altruistic, with many surrogates receiving far less than reasonable expenses. The UK’s surrogates and intended parents place great emphasis on the principle that happy relationships are firmly at the heart of the majority of UK surrogacy arrangements.
“Surrogacy is an amazing treatment’’
Sarah Templeman, surrogacy nurse manager at Herts & Essex Fertility Centre said “We wholeheartedly welcome this report and are 100% in agreement with its findings. The current UK surrogacy laws protect no one involved, least of all the child. A revised framework, with transparency regarding costs, would ensure that surrogacy could be managed responsibly and ethically. The findings of the report show that people want to access surrogacy at home in the UK and, in our experience, well-managed surrogacy in the UK is far preferable to complex overseas arrangements. Surrogacy is an amazing treatment with great success rates. The current UK law is completely obstructive to people having this opportunity for success. Things must change.’’
Herts & Essex Fertility is expert in the provision of surrogacy treatment, with consistently high success rates, so if you’d like to talk over the implications, legal and treatment-related, of choosing surrogacy to start your family, please call 01992 78 50 60 or email Sarah.Templeman@hertsandessexfertility.com
For further information on surrogacy within the UK:
Surrogacy UK www.surrogacyuk.org
Louisa Ghevaert, Fertility & Parenting Law www.michelmores.com/what-we-do/services/fertility-law
COTS Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy www.surrogacy.org.uk
Brilliant Beginnings www.brilliantbeginnings.co.uk