The current surrogacy laws have been described as “outdated and not fit for purpose” anymore by Sir Nicholas Green who is chairing a consultation which is considering making changes to the current problematic surrogacy laws.
Surprisingly, at present when a child is born via a surrogacy, the surrogate mother is deemed the child’s legal parent and not the child’s intended parents.
Due to this, the child’s intended parents must to apply to the Courts to obtain a Parental Order to remove the rights of the surrogate in order to become recognised as the child’s legal parents. This can be a long, costly and distressing process for the child’s intended parents.
It has been proposed that the law should be changed to allow intended parents to automatically be recognised as a child’s legal parents at birth. This would prevent the need for intended parents to enter into lengthy court proceedings.
In order to ensure fairness however, the surrogate will be allowed a short period of time to object to the intended parents becoming the child’s legal parents at birth. This is in case any surrogate agreements break down.
Additionally, there will no longer be a requirement that one of the intended parents has a genetic link to the child, this previously had been a stumbling block for many couples being recognised as a child’s legal parents.
When will these changes be made?
The consultation will remain open for suggestions until 11th October 2019, after this deadline final proposals will be submitted to the Government who will then vote on whether the current surrogacy laws should be changed.
Other Notable Changes
Up until very recently, only couples (either married, in a civil partnership or co-habiting) could apply to the Court for a parental order.
Following, criticisms that the law was discriminatory against single persons, the law has now been changed to remove the requirement of being in a ‘couple’ and allow a single person/parent to apply for a parental order, providing certain criteria is met.