People who commission surrogate children should able to able to pay the birth mothers, the Bar Council has claimed.
Currently it is only legal in the UK to cover the expenses incurred by surrogate mothers and commercial arrangements are illegal. But the Bar Council, which represents barristers across England and Wales, now believes that:
“It should be open to intended parents to compensate a surrogate for career interruption, disruption to career progression and loss of earnings or bonus or other remuneration by reason of the pregnancy, childbirth or the post-partum recovery.”
The claim was made by the Council’s Law Reform Committee, following an earlier consultation on the issue conducted by the Law Commission.
An additional benefit, the Council suggested, would be helping to avoid misunderstandings over the parental status of the surrogate mother.
“By following this pathway, the law will in fact honour the intentions of all concerned and respect the right of the child to his or her personal identity on birth…The current law does not give effect to any of the intentions of the parties who enter into surrogacy arrangements in a timely or effective way.
Currently surrogate mothers automatically acquire the legal status of parent following the birth regardless of their views or intentions, until ‘parental responsibility’ is transferred to the intended parties via a parental order, a time-consuming and potentially expensive process. But the payment of compensation would allow parental responsibility to be acquired the intended parents from the outset said the Bar Council, endorsing a suggestion by the Law Commission to that effect.
“In this scenario, without an objection raised by the surrogate, she will have neither physical care of the child nor legal parentage, thus parental responsibility is not required. Moreover, this outcome would accord with the responses given by surrogates that they do not want to be responsible for a child they have never considered to be theirs.”
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