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Surrogacy is an expanding area and can be the only option for some who have fertility issues, or who are in same sex relationships, but long for a genetic link to the baby.

However, issues surrounding surrogacy are difficult and the UK has been slow to develop the law. It is therefore imperative that we have the right laws in place to protect all involved, especially as surrogacy is becoming more common.

In 2016, 368 Parental Orders were awarded to enable people using surrogacy to become legal parents - up from 194 in 2012.

Under the current UK law, the surrogate is the legal mother of the child until the intended parents apply to the Court for a Parental Order, a potentially slow and expensive process which involves a detailed assessment of both families. The Government’s proposed changes to the legislation (which are set out in its Command Paper dated 1 December 2017) propose to bring an end to any legal links which the child has to the surrogate and other legal parents.

One of the main changes expected in 2018 is that a single person will also be able to apply for a Parental Order to transfer legal parenthood to them if they are an intended parent in respect of a surrogacy arrangement, provided they have a genetic link to the child. The laws of England and Wales have never stopped a single person having a child via surrogacy, but they are required to go through a more arduous and complicated process of adopting their intended child. Such proposed change comes after the case of Z (A Child) (No 2) [2016] EWHC 1191 (Fam) which stated that current legislation was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (namely Article 14 – Prohibition of Discrimination).

Helen Thewlis, Head of Family Law at Ramsdens, commented: "The Law Commission will now spend 2-3 years looking at how the UK surrogacy law currently works in practice, the ways in which it is outdated, and making recommendations as to how it should change. A decision will then be made as to whether to implement the proposals

"The process will not be an instant one, but it will be thorough."

Call our family helpline on 08000 147720, send us an email or text LAW to 67777 to book a free information session at any of our offices. We also offer early morning and late evening appointments across our offices.