Has UK surrogacy law really considered how it might approach surrogate twins abandoned by their intended parents? Does it leave the surrogate mother to care for a child she did not expect or force the intended parent to take a child she is not likely to care for?
UK Surrogacy arrangements are not legally binding, as such the consequences can be dire.
Table of Contents
- What Happened?
- Why This Happened: The Problem with UK Surrogacy Law
- How Surrogacy is Done in Other Countries
- Impact of UK Surrogacy Laws
- Final Thoughts
“The recent story about Gammy in Thailand shocked a lot of the British public but it can also happen in the UK, as demonstrated by this couple who left a baby girl, one of a set of twins, with a surrogate because she had congenital myotonic dystrophy.
Intended parents took the healthy child and left the disabled child with the surrogate parent who never anticipated having a child. With no right to claim maintenance, no means to enforce the surrogacy arrangements it’s just fortunate the mother is showing compassion to the newborn.”
Why This Happened: The Problem with UK Surrogacy Law
This demonstrates, yet again, the dangers that these arrangements face.
Surrogacy Agreements are not binding on any party in the UK and, although this places the Intended Parents in danger of the surrogate keeping your child, it can also be disastrous for the surrogate if the Intended Parents do not make the necessary applications to court and abandon their child.
Click here to learn more about the legal rights of parents and surrogates
How Surrogacy Abroad is Done
In contrast, couples going to the USA or other jurisdictions where the Surrogacy Agreement is legally binding can obtain greater certainty.
The US law accepts that all parties are adults, that they understand the steps they are taking and the need to regulate this area to avoid these such situations arising.
Since money is also passing hands, the arrangements are far more commercially handled, and in both pregnancy and afterwards, the surrogate knows she will receive good care.
Whilst we understand the UK’s reluctance to make these arrangements commercial, if Surrogacy Agreements were at least legally binding in the UK, it would be far more unlikely that this type of problem would arise. Consequently, these twins would never have been separated and the surrogate mother was put in this precarious position.
Impact of UK Surrogacy Law on International Surrogacies
It is hard to see how the actual effect of a non-binding agreement in the UK could be considered in the child’s best interests and similarly difficult to reconcile with principles of fairness given the surrogate’s generosity at undertaking this process.
When the healthy twin becomes an adult and understands the circumstances, around her birth, the abandonment of her twin, by her legal guardian, on the grounds of discrimination and prejudice how can that poor child reconcile her understanding of being given to such a family.
The law has taken a view without considering all the factors that can impact these arrangements.
Whilst we do not advocate any specific arrangements, we can see the security of seeking these arrangements abroad and having the law protect you and the children from harm, which is otherwise left vulnerable in the UK
Final Thoughts: Avoid Surrogacy Pitfalls
While most surrogacy arrangements are successful, it is disheartening and upsetting for everyone involved if the arrangement deviates from the norm. As this story shows, it may be for an unjust reason and not in the best interest of the children.
Any person involved in this process should obtain legal advice about their rights and the problems still afflicting this imperfect system to avoid falling into the same trap.
For more information contact us…
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