The Independent newspaper has criticised the sharp rise in international surrogacy arrangements, quoting Natalie on UK surrogacy law. Responding to a study newly published in the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, the Independent says that international surrogacy urgently needs regulating to prevent child trafficking, just like inter-country adoption a generation ago. It points to the rise in rich westerners accessing surrogacy in poor countries like India, and highlights how UK law fails to stop the practice and simply gives parents a ‘rap on the knuckles’ after the event.
At NGA we are proud to have helped parents win legal parental status after international surrogacy. We believe it is the right outcome for much-wanted families who are trying to navigate outdated law. The process is not easy, and the UK court applies great care and sophistication, keeping its focus quite rightly on the welfare of the child.
Surrogacy is very different from adoption, because it involves parents conceiving their own biological child. Collaborative reproduction can be positive – a win-win process which addness richness to the lives of all involved, including the cherished child. But there are potential problems too. The worry is that women will be pushed (whether by exploitative intermediaries or by environmental factors like poverty) into becoming surrogate mothers without fully understanding the risks or without free consent. This is what regulation needs to deal with, not placing restrictions on parents.
And before we start criticising countries like India, let’s get our own house in order. The lack of up to date law and regulation in the UK is what is driving parents abroad for surrogacy. We don’t need to stop parents crossing borders; we need to make surrogacy safer, easier and better regulated in the UK so they don’t need to.
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