A 40-year-old law about British surrogacy is being considered for changes that would give the intended parents of the child legal status as soon as the child is born. Currently, the intended parents have to wait a minimum of six weeks after the child’s birth to become the baby’s legal parents.
In reality that wait is often much longer, and can frequently take up to a year. The case has to make its way through the court, which requires waiting, filing paperwork, and ensuring that everything is handled and processed correctly, or there can be additional delays. During the time that the intended parents don’t have a legal right to the child they can’t make any kind of decisions for their baby, including what medical care their child receives.
Now, that law is being reviewed under the argument that it’s not in the best interests of anyone involved in the surrogacy arrangement and birth. In addition to the review, there’s a call for the creation of a surrogacy register, which would allow children born through surrogacy to trace where they came from when they’re older.
Surrogacy has become more common in recent years, but the laws surrounding the practice haven’t changed. That makes many of those laws outdated, and they don’t work for the current reproductive landscape. With more modern laws the best interests of the child will be protected, and the intended parents would have more protection, as well.
Recommendations have been made regarding any kind of for-profit surrogacy and what types of payments can be made to a surrogate, along with streamlining the process for UK parents to bring babies home from surrogates in other countries. Additionally, the Commission is recommending that surrogates have the right to withdraw their consent for a specific period of time after birth, but that a judge could decide whether this would be allowed.
Because surrogacy is changing and becoming so much more common in the UK and other countries, the Commission is focused on making sure the laws that are in place surrounding it reflect what is realistic for the modern day.
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