As we prepare to launch the Harper Macleod Modern Families Initiative we are pleased to highlight the publication of the Law Commission's consultation paper "Building Families Through Surrogacy – A New Law".
Surrogacy - A New Law Consultation Paper
The consultation period ends on 27 September 2019. It will take time for the responses to the consultation to be collated, considered, and for the new provisions to become law. Assuming however the Law Commission's recommendations are endorsed then the new legislative framework will make the process of family creation through surrogacy considerably more straightforward for clients.
The consultation paper outlines a "pathway to surrogacy", which it is anticipated would be triggered in the majority of cases, with the "old" system of applying for a parental order being used in rare cases in which the pathway wasn't appropriate due to a complexity of some sort which would render the new pathway inapplicable. One such example may be, in my view, a scenario in which the spouse of a surrogate claimed that s/he had been unaware of the arrangement and wished to block the order.
The key proposals are:
- Creation of a pathway which will in many cases enable the intended parents to be the legal parents before the child's birth;
- The introduction of specific regulations providing for counselling and independent legal advice to be taken, reducing the risk of an arrangement breaking down;
- Allowing international surrogacy arrangements to be recognised in the UK, on a country to country basis, thus removing one of the potential barriers by making it easier to find a surrogate;
- That a national surrogacy register be created, similar to that relating to donor conceived children.
Removing uncertainty around the Surrogacy Process
The proposals contained within the consultation paper are long overdue and in our view will streamline the process for clients, removing some of the uncertainty and anxiety around the surrogacy process in its present form. The process of creating your family through surrogacy is complex, and can be emotionally trying, too. Seeking reliable advice and establishing a supportive relationship with your chosen legal advisor is important.
If you would like to have a confidential chat about any aspect of family creation do not hesitate to get in touch with Amanda Masson or Lynsey Brown. Amanda is regularly appointed by the Court to prepare reports on the welfare of children in adoption, surrogacy, and donor conception cases. She has been instructed to provide expert evidence to the Court in relation to the surrogacy process. Lynsey has particular interest and experience in adoption and surrogacy cases & both Amanda and Lynsey have written extensively on these topics.