Current laws on surrogate motherhood are out of date and should be changed, the head of the Law Commission has claimed.

In a newly published public consultation paper entitled Building Families Through Surrogacy: A New Law, the Commission suggests the abolition of the current requirement for parents who commission surrogates to obtain a parental order from the family courts before they become the legal parents of the child.

The commissioning parents would instead automatically become the legal parents, with the surrogate mother given a short period in which to object.

The Law Commission is responsible for reviewing legislation and proposing updates and amends to reflect changes in society. Chair Sir Nicholas Green said:

“More and more people are turning to surrogacy to have a child and start their family. We therefore need to make sure that the process is meeting the needs of all those involved. However, the laws around surrogacy are outdated and no longer fit for purpose. We think our proposals will create a system that works for surrogates, the parents and, most importantly, the child.”

The Commission also proposes a new surrogacy regulator as well as a national register that would allow children born from surrogacy to obtain information about their background once they have become adults.

Commercial surrogacy is illegal in the UK. Instead of a surrogacy fee, only the payment of reasonable expenses to the mother is allowed but the Commission believes the applicable regulations lack clarity and has requested the views of interested parties on this topic too.

Read the Law Commission’s consultation paper here.

Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposals via email, post or a dedicated online form. The consultation closes on September 27.

Image by MFer Photography via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence