NGA has been interviewed by the Law Society Gazette about the Law Commission’s announcement that it plans to review UK surrogacy law, and our leading role in pushing for law reform. The piece says:
Identifying surrogacy as an area of law where reform may be required, the commission asks if the law governing surrogacy is keeping pace with social change. Speaking to fertility lawyer Natalie Gamble, of Natalie Gamble Associates, the answer appears to be an emphatic ‘no’. ‘The world has changed significantly,’ Gamble says. ‘People all around the world are crossing borders to find a surrogate.’ Gamble’s firm has been pushing for surrogacy law reforms for several years.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, which was updated in 2008, makes the woman who gives birth (the surrogate) and her spouse (the surrogate’s husband/wife), the legal parents of a child. The intended parents can apply for a parental order after their child is born to make them the legal parents if they meet certain criteria.
According to a parliamentary briefing paper produced by Natalie Gamble Associates and non-profit UK surrogacy agency Brilliant Beginnings, the process takes between six to nine months.
‘The mechanism was tacked on to the law as a last-minute amendment at a time when surrogacy was rare. There was virtually no parliamentary debate on the detail,’ the paper states.
The parental order process for reassigning parentage after the birth is problematic, with restrictive and outdated criteria which are assessed in hindsight, it adds.
‘The law is simply unfit to deal with the modern realities of diverse surrogacy experience, and as a result the courts have stretched the rules to make orders crucial to safeguard children’s welfare. This has made the current law unclear and artificial.’
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