The Guardian’s Weekend magazine today includes a long feature about surrogacy, thoughtfully covering the challenges of the existing law as well as the experience of parents going through the process in the UK and overseas. As well as featuring six of the landmark surrogacy cases NGA Law has been involved in, Natalie was interviewed for the piece and quoted extensively:
“The solicitor for the father was Natalie Gamble, and she shares the judge’s frustration. Gamble has spent the past 20 years representing and advocating for “alternative” families. She started with her own. She has two children with her same-sex partner, both born as a result of artificial insemination by an anonymous donor. Back then, the non-birth mother had no parental rights, and Gamble started doing what she could to make her own family more secure.
“Gamble now runs one of the leading fertility law firms in the UK, and has spent her career helping not only lesbian mothers, but others struggling with fertility clinics, parenting orders, donor conception disputes, co-parenting agreements and the like. On the wall of her Salisbury office is a pinboard full of baby photos sent in by grateful clients: little girls in tutus and twins wearing “I love my daddies” babygrows.
Many of the problems Gamble used to see were ironed out by the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which did a lot to put same-sex and single parents on the same footing as straight couples. But legislators, persuaded by those who argued that paying surrogates amounted to “baby-selling”, decided not to lift the ban on commercial surrogacy. As a result, families created by surrogacy are particularly badly served by the law, Gamble argues, and many end up seeking her help as a result.
She is now at the forefront of a campaign to change the law, to bring it more in line with the Californian model. There, surrogates are paid an “inconvenience” fee (of around $20,000-$30,000 – £13,000-£20,000) on top of expenses, and the intended parents are legally recognised from before birth. Gamble would like to see regulated and transparent fees, binding surrogacy agreements and pre-birth orders that would enable an immediate transfer of parenthood.
In 2013, she founded a surrogacy agency, Brilliant Beginnings. It charges £500 plus VAT for a two-hour “options review meeting”, £7,000 for a “structured matching” of surrogate to intended parent, and £5,500 for supporting parents through the process. Bound by UK law, it is non-profit-making but, for Gamble, this is not about making money. “Brilliant Beginnings is our activism,” she says. “We are creating a model for a properly structured surrogacy, and saying, this is how it could work in Britain.”
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