A recent BBC podcast has asked the question, ‘Is surrogacy the commercialisation of a woman’s body or the greatest gift she can give?’
The war in Ukraine has shone a spotlight on surrogate mothers, the babies they’d given birth to, and the overseas parents struggling to collect the newborns. Meanwhile, surrogacy law in the UK is under review and there’s a renewed debate around how it should be regulated.
For some surrogacy is extremely contentious, for others it’s life changing.
Victoria Maxwell, Associate Solicitor in Bishop & Sewell’s Family & Divorce team, commented: “As a family lawyer having developed a practice in overseas surrogacy, I have assisted intended parents with agreements that have been entered into all around the world. Fortunately, it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for all parties involved in the majority of my cases.
“However, from my experience I am also very aware of the risks that can be associated with surrogacy – for all parties involved. When I meet with my clients for the first time, I stress the importance of proper research and due diligence, particularly when they are contemplating overseas jurisdictions where the regulation of surrogacy differs from country to country.
“From my experience, the risk of exploitation to not just the surrogate, but also the intended parents, is undoubtedly higher in jurisdictions where there is no regulation; where commercial surrogacy is lawful; and in countries with lower socio-economic status. For this reason, anyone contemplating surrogacy should take advice as early as possible, in order to, try and mitigate against the potential risks involved.
“This analysis by the BBC opens up an interesting debate about the ethical issues surrounding surrogacy and the types of issues intended parents should be aware of before they decide to embark on any surrogacy journey.
“The courts here in the UK maintain an investigative role to try and rule out any potential policy concerns, particularly the risk of exploitation, and provided that intended parents can display their due diligence throughout the process, in my experience, this goes a long way to safeguarding against any potential issues.”
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The above is accurate as at 21 October 2022. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.