Britain should lift the ban on commercial surrogacy.
Sir James Munby, senior judge of family court in England and Wales, said before retirement that serious consideration should be given to the lifting of restrictions on commercial surrogacy in England.
Women are not allowed to advertise themselves as surrogate mothers or receive remuneration for their services, except the compensation of the “transaction costs” within reasonable limits. However, according to Sir James, in fact, the surrogate motherhood market in the UK has already taken shape, just payments are often disguised as expenses.
He added: “How should a judge assess whether, for example, £ 10,000 covered real expenses. By and large, even in cases where the court claims that these calculations are wrong, the judges have to ignore it and admit the fact of spending the funds, otherwise what question are we considering? It’s probably better to recognize the real state of things and move on to the right regulatory system, rather than a ban. ”
For 20 years in the High Court, Sir James witnessed incredible changes in family life. In particular, referring to a historical case concerning a transgender man (woman from birth) who wanted to be the first woman in history who was officially registered as a father, not a mother, in the birth certificate of a child, Sir James said: "If someone said ten years ago, that in ten years the Family Division will consider the case of whether you can have a father without a mother, people would think that this is nonsense. ”
“The discussion about what a family is, what the relationship between parent and child should be, very much resembles an endlessly erupting volcano. The society is developing, moving forward, and the task of the legislators is to take into account these constant changes in legal norms. Many people have experience of participation in IVF procedures, in surrogate motherhood programs, experience of same-sex marriage ... It is important to understand that these are not monsters, but people like everyone else, just their way of life is different. ”
Sir James also mentioned an unexpected increase in the number of older women who want to have a child. Statistics for this year show that in England and Wales the number of babies born to women over 50 years old has grown by more than 300 percent compared with 15 years earlier.
According to the rules of the National Health Service (NHS), women over 42 cannot receive free infertility treatment due to the low probability of success, although IVF clinics are free to set their own criteria.
Some critics argue that having a child at such an old age is selfish, because it’s not a fact that they can be around to see their child grow, but Sir James argues that the projected increase in life expectancy means that many of the 60 year olds will be able to raise their children to adulthood.
“Modern 60-year-old grandmothers are not like those that were 50 years ago. Today, 60-year-olds are like yesterday's 40-year-olds. Another question is whether it is right to wish to become a mother of a child if you are unlikely to live to his adult life. But on the other hand, it is the right of women to choose. If you feel comfortable to live knowing that you have a child when you are 60 and that he will become an adult, then this is right,” said Sir James, speaking at the annual Progress Education Trust conference .
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