Reforming Surrogacy Laws conference, London, 6 June 2019

Natalie and Helen were delighted to be invited to speak at the Reforming Surrogacy Laws conference in London last week.  The event hosted the official launch of the Law Commission’s consultation on reforming UK surrogacy law, with Law Commissioner Nick Hopkins opening the conference by outlining the Law Commission’s preliminary proposals.

Other speakers included leadings lawyers and academics from around the world, as well as panels of surrogates (including Brilliant Beginnings surrogate Lisa) and parents through surrogacy (including Brilliant Beginnings dad Michael).

Natalie and Helen spoke about our research project with Dr Vasanti Jadva at the Cambridge University Centre for Family Research, the first research to compare the experiences of UK parents staying in the UK for surrogacy and going overseas. 

Our talk summarised our research findings that:

  • International surrogacy has increased dramatically for UK parents over the past 10 years and is now at least equalling UK surrogacy.
  • The main factors driving it are the desire for legal security and the professional matching services available overseas, and the shortage of UK surrogates.
  • International surrogacy reflects a range of experience which varies considerably according to the destination (US, India, Thailand, Ukraine, Georgia, Canada)
  • Key difficulties experienced by UK parents include the long delays bringing children home from some countries and the lengthy post-birth UK legal process.
  • The relationships between parents and their surrogates are just as positive following US surrogacy as they are following UK surrogacy, but much less so following surrogacy in Asia, suggesting that it is not surrogate compensation which makes a difference to positive relationships, but how surrogacy is managed and the presence of a common language and direct communication.

You can read more about this research project in our published papers: Cross-border and domestic surrogacy in the UK context: an exploration of practical and legal decision-making (Human Fertility, December 2018) and Parents’ relationship with their surrogate during pregnancy and after the birth in cross border and domestic surrogacy arrangements (Fertility and Sterility, March 2019). 

A big thank you to Dr Kirsty Horsey and Kent University for inviting us to be part of such a fascinating and important day.

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