Surrogacy Laws change for single parents


Change in Surrogacy laws for single parents

Surrogacy laws, which prevent single people from claiming full parental rights, are to be changed following a decision by the Family Division of the high court.

The case stems from a ruling in a case where a single man who had fathered a child with an American surrogate, was not allowed to have parental responsibility for the child.

The child, referred to as Z, was born to a surrogate using the man’s sperm and a third party donor egg.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, currently in place, allow for couples (married, cohabiting, civil partners and enduring family relationships) to apply for parental orders after the surrogacy arrangement, but this does not extend to single people. The current solution would be for the father to adopt his own child. It was contested that forcing such a practice was discriminatory.

Sir James Munby, a senior Family Court Judge, has agreed with the father and stated that the current legislation contradicts human right laws.

The department of health spokesperson has clarified that they have accepted the judgement and agree that the current law is incompatible with surrogacy agreements. They are currently considering how best to change the legislation to reflect this.

Previously, adoptive issues have been raised by Stonewall, the LGBT campaign group, highlighting how a biological parent in a married same sex couple will have to give up that parental right and subsequently readopt the child with their spouse in order to both be afforded parental rights. This causes further issue when the other biological parent intends to retain involvement with the child.

In January 2015, the government announced £200m investment to reform adoption in the UK, including the foundation of new regional adoption agencies and increased skills training to enable social workers to come to quicker decisions regarding child placement.

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