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Regulating International Surrogacy, ‘The Elephant in the Room’: Some Reflections on reform from a UK Study

Dec 7, 2018, 10:35 AM
International Surrogacy - Commercial Surrogacy - Parental Orders - Reasonable Expenses - Intended parents - Regulation
The UK legislative framework within which surrogacy is situated is a post-event framework where the legal structures act to regulate the family after the child has been born.
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Meta Keywords : International Surrogacy - Commercial Surrogacy - Parental Orders - Reasonable Expenses - Intended parents - Regulation
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Date : Nov 19, 2018, 09:37 AM
Article ID : 117515
Dr Rita D'Alton-Harrison, University of London

Keywords: 
International Surrogacy - Commercial Surrogacy - Parental Orders - Reasonable Expenses - Intended parents - Regulation


The full version of this article will appear in Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol 31, No 1

Find out more or request a free 1-week trial of Child and Family Law Quarterly. Please quote: 100482.




The UK legislative framework within which surrogacy is situated is a post-event framework where the legal structures act to regulate the family after the child has been born. Yet, even pre-event frameworks have been criticised with the UN Rapporteur denouncing international surrogacy involving commercial payments within pre-birth agreements as child trafficking. Arguments that international surrogacy arrangements (ISAs) are more complex to regulate than domestic surrogacy arrangements are given credence by the fact that there are competing legal structures to navigate in the form of differing national laws on family and immigration matters. Yet without regulation, it is arguable that the practice may become subject to the black market where the risks of exploitation and harm increase. This article will consider the findings from empirical research analysing a sample of ISA parental order case files involving UK couples, to consider what lessons can be drawn from these couples’ experiences as the Law Commissions begin their work to consider the efficacy of the UK’s present laws on surrogacy as part of the 13th programme of reform.


This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 1, Vol 31, Year 2019. The final published version of this article will be published and made publicly available here 24 months after its publication date, under a CC-BY-NC licence.





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