December 7, 2022

The growing problem of surrogate children in a legal limbo

About 1,000 children of surrogate mothers enter Britain each year and many of them lack a clear parental status

Recently in Britain a conference was convened for leading interest groups to discuss the national and international regulations on surrogacy. Lawyers, academics and consumer groups, as well as representatives from government departments and international surrogacy agencies attended the roundtable discussion, organized by the Project Group on Assisted Reproduction (PROGAR).

The meeting focused on how to get more British parents to declare they have adopted a surrogate child (which is done through applying for a parental order). Many parents believe any such application will be rejected, for they have paid a woman more than out of pocket expenses to carry the child. This payment is technically illegal in Britain. Parents are also concerned that the regulations in foreign surrogacy clinics do not meet the standards required for the granting of a British PO. The upshot is that about 1,000 children of surrogate mothers enter Britain each year and many of them lack a clear parental status.  

The conference has backed the establishment of a International Convention on Surrogacy, along the lines under consideration by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Bilateral agreements between governments may be quicker way to address the issue. It was also suggested that the UK Government should make it easier to apply for Parenting Orders, by lowering the cost and quickening the process.

Xavier Symons
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