Huge leap forwards for surrogacy reform

The Law Commission launches consultation on whether to undertake a project on surrogacy reform for 2017.

LONDON, 12th September 2016:

Surrogacy UK (SUK) is pleased to announce that the Law Commission is currently consulting on whether to include a project on surrogacy law reform as part of its thirteen programme of work that will commence in 2017. If taken on, this could lead to the root and branch review of surrogacy law that SUK has been campaigning for since we set up a cross-organisational working group on the subject in early 2015.

It is vital that surrogates and intended parents, as well as anyone with an interest in UK surrogacy law, write to the Law Commission to outline their experience of surrogacy, the negative impact of the current law on them and their view of what kind of legal reform is required. The deadline for responses is 31st October 2016. Surrogacy UK has set up an online tool to support this process or you can respond using the Law Commission form.

In July this year, our working group went to meet the new Minister for Public Health, Nicola Blackwood, to talk through the need to reform surrogacy law, a topic to which she was extremely receptive. Having been in the post for only four days, it was really positive to find that surrogacy was clearly near the top of her to-do list and that our campaign – in particular, the many letters received from surrogates and intended parents via MPs – had created such a big impact. Less than a year after publishing the report, ‘Surrogacy in the UK, myth busting and reform’, it is brilliant that we are talking about HOW and not whether to reform the law.

suk-working-group

The Surrogacy UK working group meet with the new Minister for Public Health, Nicola Blackwood. From left: Dr Kirsty Horsey, Kent Law School, Nicola Blackwood, Minister for Public Health, Sarah Norcross, Director Progress Educational Trust, and Natalie Smith, trustee of Surrogacy UK.

Surrogacy UK is supportive of the Law Commission taking on this project. We would like to see commitment to a quick outcome, protection of the principle of altruistic surrogacy, and the recommendations of our 2015 report reflected in the project.

In the interim period we have started working, in collaboration with other surrogacy organisations, with the Department of Health to update guidance on surrogacy in order to minimise the negative impact that the current law has on surrogates and intended parents. It is likely that the Government will adjust existing legislation to enable single people to apply for a parental order in a more immediate timeframe and we await a timeline for this. We are talking to the Government to see if there are other interim measures that could take place.

Natalie Smith, a trustee of Surrogacy UK and Chair of the working group said, “I am thrilled with the progress that has been made. It’s important that we continue to push for the right kind of reform. I would ask surrogates and intended parents to please write to the Law Commission to share your experiences. You really can make a difference”.

The Law Commission is also consulting on whether to include a project on birth certificates.

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