Surrogacy has been, and continues to be, a matter that always gets people talking and it’s regularly made the headlines in the past couple of years. Many celebrities are choosing this alternative route to parenthood, which has made the matter even more of a hot topic.
There are a multitude of challenges with the current surrogacy process, a few of which have been brought to light by Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke. As a same-sex couple, Ollie and his partner have faced many obstacles that reflect just how outdated and out of tune the current laws and rules are. This all brings about a question, should the UK law on surrogacy be reformed?
It is wise to first get a better understanding of what surrogacy is. Surrogacy is when a woman has a child for a couple who are (usually) unable to have children themselves. Known as ‘traditional surrogacy’, the baby is created from the surrogate’s egg and the sperm of the father.
Locke is making people aware of what he and his partner have been through to highlight just how difficult the laws are today. He wants to ignite change so family law and the British laws can be modified so it’s easier for people to start their own families. While people are continuing to try to work with and around these laws, many feel defeated and may not even be trying anymore due to the constraints. For the laws to change, it will require more than wishing and hoping and will have to involve a law reform.
UK surrogacy laws
While surrogacy is legal in the UK, it is not allowed to be commercialised or advertised. No form of payment can be exchanged with your surrogate except in the case of expenses that are deemed reasonable.
It leaves those who want to become parents, and the surrogate, unclear about their responsibilities and positions. Nothing is holding same-sex couples back from continuing with surrogacy, however the current laws and processes don’t provide much legal protection. In this case, you may need to involve a surrogacy lawyer.
Looking and moving forward
Surrogacy is a complex process that leaves many potential parents feeling overwhelmed and stressed. There is a lot of time that passes between giving birth to the child to receiving the parental order in family court. It may help to have a surrogate agreement early on in case they change their mind and choose to keep the baby.
So, what needs to change? The law needs to be set up in such a way that makes the path to parenthood using surrogacy much easier. The UK could learn a great deal from other countries, such as the US, which have a more secure system in place and have legally binding agreements established.
If you are struggling to make your dream of becoming a parent a reality or need more guidance on the topic, then reach out to our lawyers in Tiverton or Newton Abbot for advice.