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an article by Rosjurconsulting Director General Konstantin Svitnev, legal expert with the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology

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The Parliament of Great Britain votes for the end of the thirty-year period of discrimination in the field of surrogacy.

Last week, the English Parliament voted to allow single parents in the UK to have a legal basis for obtaining the status of parents of children born under the surrogate motherhood program. With this decision, the long period of discrimination of single parents that has existed since the law on surrogacy was passed in 1985 is terminated.

Surrogacy UK, a public association of surrogate mothers, expressed universal satisfaction with the initiative of the House of Representatives, which made it possible for individuals to petition for parental orders (a mechanism used to transfer legal parental rights from surrogate mother to parents) and implement it. So far, only couples in stable relationships could file such a parental orders.

The law was amended to refer to the precedent using the reinstatement order that Sir James Munby, the former chairman of the family department of the High Court, created by supporting one male applicant. The claimant appealed against the discriminatory nature of the current law, which prohibited him from becoming the legal parent of a child born through surrogacy, and was incompatible with his right to family life in accordance with the Human Rights Act 1988, as a result of which single people could have children adoption, donor conception or IVF (Z (A Child) ( 2) [2016] EWHC 1191 (Fam).

The UK public hopes that the government will now remove the last barrier for individuals and couples in attaining parental responsibilities - a requirement that parents have a genetic connection with children born through surrogate. This prevents infertile people from becoming parents due to surrogacy, but this restriction does not apply to those whose children were born as a result of donor conception or IVF.

Sarah Jones, president of Surrogacy UK:

“We all have friends or family in successful, modern forms of relationships where only one person takes on the legal responsibility of parenthood. Now individuals who have a child through surrogacy can be recognised as the single legal parents.”

Andrew Percy, Member of Parliament, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Surrogacy (APPGS):

“It is critical that we have surrogacy laws in the UK that reflect modern families and do not discriminate against people who are not in a relationship. I am thrilled that the people I have spoken to through the APPGS can finally move forwards with creating their families. We also look forward to broader changes to UK legislation following the Law Commission’s review over the next few years The APPGS will produce a set of recommendations early next year which we hope will feed into that process.”

Witnesses of the parliamentary vote claim that the discussion of the topic for 5–6 hours and the 30-second result of the vote were worth it, because everyone had been waiting for this moment for more than 5 years! The parliamentary decision should resolve the legal difficulties that have made it very difficult for a single person to use the possibilities of surrogacy in the UK.

All those who contributed to these changes deserve appreciation: Surrogacy UK, members of both houses of parliament, officials of the Department of Health and Welfare, and many interested people.


Photo: Reuters

Based on The Independent

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