Kent expert on surrogacy welcomes proposed changes in law

The laws around surrogacy are outdated and should be improved to better support the child, surrogates and intended parents, the Law Commissions have announced at a conference organised by the University.

To reflect the wishes of surrogates and intended parents, the Law Commissions are proposing to allow intended parents to become legal parents when the child is born, subject to the surrogate retaining a right to object for a short period after the birth.

The proposed change has been welcomed by conference organiser Dr Kirsty Horsey, of the University’s Kent Law School.

She said: ‘I welcome the Law Commissions’ detailed and timely review of our outdated laws on surrogacy – something I have been campaigning for a long time for. In particular, I am glad to see their recommendations that intended parents are recognised as the legal parents from birth and that a national register of surrogate births be created.

‘Both of these aspects are indicated by my previous research, which has shown not only that accurate data on surrogacy arrangements is hard to find, but also that the vast majority of both surrogates and intended parents believe that legal parenthood should rest with the intended parents and not the surrogate, as is the case under the existing law.’

The proposed changes were announced at the Reforming Surrogacy Laws: Future Directions and Possibilities conference, held on 6 June in London.

Dr Horsey’s research interests lie primarily in the area of the regulation of human reproduction and genetic technologies, particularly where these overlap with issues in family law. A current long-term research project focuses on reform of the UK’s laws on surrogacy. See here.