What are the legalities behind surrogacy?

In the interest of exploring this topic, we’ve recently been keeping up with the ever developing story of the baby Gammy, a child that, after being born with down syndrome, was left behind by his intended adoptive parents. So, what exactly can you do in this circumstance? Where can you legally adopt a surrogate baby?

What exactly is surrogacy?

Define: Surrogacy –The process of giving birth as a surrogate mother or of arranging such a birth.

As the above definition shows, being a surrogate mother is a process in which a woman will become pregnant whilst simply having the intention of giving the subsequent child away to another party after the birth of the baby. This process comes about because the surrogate mother is to carry the baby for another party, i.e. a couple/parent who can’t have children themselves. Given this is the matter of fact, this party is known as “intended parents”.

It should be known that there are actually two separate forms of surrogacy. In the classic form of surrogacy, the egg of the surrogate mother is most commonly used, which would make her, by law, the genetic mother. In the more modern version of surrogacy (which is called gestational), the egg itself is actually provided by the intended parents, which is then fertilised through IVF.

Is surrogacy a legal process?

There are actually a number of countries that prohibit any form of surrogacy with children. These countries include Germany, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria.

Though there are a considerable amount of countries opposed to the idea of surrogacy, a number of countries actually support the process. Countries such as the UK, Ireland and Belgium support surrogacy only when the surrogate mother is set to receive no payment. If you’re set to pay the mother a fee, this is classed as surrogacy of the ‘commercial’ type, which is strictly prohibited. This form of surrogacy is legal in a few American states, with the countries as well as Ukraine, Russia and India all supporting this.

Why would a woman become a surrogate mother?

It’s strange to think how doing something such as surrogacy for another party will take a major impact on the life of a woman, with it having multiple effects on her body. Yet, all of the legalities that lie behind surrogacy can cause more significant problems than just the physical changes in the surrogate.

The problem with surrogacy is that there is currently no existing international law for the process, so it’s possible that children and parents worldwide can be left in a state of vulnerability & loss in a number of circumstances.

Also, given that a baby needs to be born in a different country to meet laws over surrogacy, it can take a whopping seven months in order to allow the intended parents to take the baby back to their own country, opening a massive flaw in the overall workings of the process.

Many experts argue that an international agreement, similar to the Hague Adoption Convention, is needed so that rules are consistent across different countries.

A number of people agree that countries worldwide need to find common ground over the surrogacy process. Though there’s currently a divide in views over the process, a law should be met to cover babies and parents worldwide.

So, what do you think of our latest blog? Do you agree that there needs to be new laws in place?

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