Talking cross-border surrogacy at the World Congress of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics

Our director Natalie Gamble was delighted to speak at the virtual World Congress of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics on 22 October 2021. Part of an expert panel discussing cross-border surrogacy, Natalie joined Dean Hutchison (US attorney and chair of the American Bar Association’s Assisted Reproduction Law Committee), Stephen Page (leading Australian surrogacy lawyer), Dr Priyankur Roy from India and Dr Bradford Kolb from HRC Fertility in California. Natalie spoke about a range of aspects of surrogacy in the UK and globally, including how international surrogacy differed from region to region. She covered:

Global approaches to surrogacy

Around the world, some countries have a legal framework recognising surrogacy arrangements (e.g. various US states and Canadian provinces, Ukraine, Georgia), while others prohibit it entirely (most European countries) or have no law at all which means that surrogacy can sometimes grow in an unregulated way (as previously in India, Thailand and Cambodia). The UK and Australia fall within the category of ‘reluctant permitters’ of surrogacy, where there is a legal framework but surrogacy is discouraged or restricted in some way. Read more about international surrogacy

How surrogacy works in the UK

Some policy-makers around the world highlight the UK as treading a sensible ‘middle path’ on surrogacy but, as Natalie explained, in practice the UK’s approach of regulating surrogacy after the event has caused enormous problems (particularly for the children born), made UK surrogacy risky and informal and driven demand for cross-border surrogacy. There is widespread agreement in the UK that our law is not fit for purposes and it is currently being reviewed by the Law Commission. Learn more about UK surrogacy

How should we regulate cross-border surrogacy?

Both domestically and globally, Natalie highlighted that we need to manage surrogacy with more sophistication, taking the focus away from what is actually a false choice between altruistic and commercial surrogacy (there are in fact many different models and enormous altruism and some commercial elements often co-exist within them all). Instead, the focus should be on how regulation can promote ethical surrogacy through informed consent, a balanced relationship in which everyone is protected, secure legal parenthood for children from birth, and long term rights to transparent information.

How Brilliant Beginnings and NGA Law facilitate international surrogacy

At Brilliant Beginnings we are always keen to educate, raise awareness and contribute to the discussion on surrogacy. Working alongside our sister organisation NGA Law, we have a unique perspective on how international surrogacy and UK surrogacy works on the ground for UK parents, and we help families to navigate it safely. We are active members of global discussion about surrogacy, passionate about making surrogacy ethical and promoting best practice to keep everyone safe.

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