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Law Commissions review surrogacy law

Areas of concern include parental orders, international surrogacy and regulation

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission have started work on a review of the laws around surrogacy after Government funding was agreed.

The Commissions say that there are significant problems with the laws which govern this process. They have already identified three potential areas of concern:

Having agreed government funding, the independent law reform bodies will strive to make sure that the UK has surrogacy laws which work for everyone in the modern world.

Law Commissioner for England and Wales Professor Nick Hopkins:

"Our society has moved on from when surrogacy laws were first introduced 30 years ago and, now, they are not fit for purpose.

"For many, having a child is the best day of their lives and surrogacy can be the only option for some who want a genetic link to the baby. But the issues are difficult and there is no quick fix.

"Now we want all those with an interest to get involved and help us make the law fit for the modern world."

Scottish Law Commissioner David Johnston QC said:

"Surrogacy is becoming more common every year, so it's important that we have the right laws in place to protect all involved.

"That's why we'll be consulting widely to make sure we have surrogacy laws that work for the parents, the surrogate and, most importantly, the child."

The Law Commissions will now undertake a joint three-year project to develop law reform recommendations that work for everyone.  This will involve extensive public consultation, with the Commissions aiming to publish a consultation paper within a year.

This project came out of the Law Commission's 13th Programme of Law Reform. In the open public consultation surrogacy was the issue most cited that made it into the Programme, with over 340 people and groups saying the law was not fit for purpose. The topic was also well supported in the Scottish Law Commission's consultation for its current Programme of Law Reform and, as a result, forms part of its Tenth Programme of Law Reform.

The project will consider the legal parentage of children born via surrogacy, and the regulation of surrogacy more widely. It will take account of the rights of all involved, including the question of a child's right to access information about their origin, and the prevention of exploitation of children and adults.

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