United Kingdom

Surrogacy Legislation

The UK has the oldest law regulating surrogacy. It is the subject of a national consultation launched in 2019 with a view to revising it. The changes would focus on three points: the removal of the six-month to six-week period after the birth of the child during which the surrogate and her partner can accept or refuse to hand over the child to the clients; a broader remuneration for the surrogate, currently limited to compensation, in order to no doubt remedy the lack of candidates in the face of growing demand; and finally the use of advertising, which is currently prohibited. The aim is clearly to remove all legal restrictions and pave the way for commercial practices[1]. The same is true for the Netherlands[2].


Here is a critique by STOP SURROGACY NOW UK of the Commission’s proposed changes. Briefing by Surrogacy Concern and Stop Surrogacy Now UK (1)


Statistical data

The website https://www.mysurrogacyjourney.com/blog/surrogacy-trends-for-uk-nationals-our-exclusive-findings/ has compiled data on parental order judgments (“parental orders” arranged after the birth of the child in the case of surrogacy).

The number of judgments recorded increased from 117 in 2011 to 444 in 2019 and 413 in 2020.  In the last two years, just over a third (36% and 34%, respectively) were in favor of gay couples, while less than half involved domestic surrogacy and the rest cross-border surrogacy. The study points out, however, that not all cases of cross-border surrogacy can be the subject of a parentage transfer order.


Despite regulations, cases of abuse are not uncommon

The organization NORDIC MODEL NOW in the United States collects testimonies on its website through a special “Share Your Story” page https://nordicmodelnow.org/share-your-surrogacy-or-eggsploitation-story/.


They have listed several testimonies:


Case #1 – Marie-Anne Isabelle


“I’m writing this because I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through for someone else’s benefit.


I’ve been exploited, lied to, manipulated, and subjected to some of the harshest and cruelest behavior, not only by people I thought I could trust, but also by institutions that ordinary people should trust…”.



Case #2 – A Midwife’s Testimony


During my 13-year career as a midwife, I have witnessed many negative consequences of surrogacy for women.




Case N°3 – MRS. A


I was an altruistic surrogate for friends, carrying and delivering twins. The experience was incredibly traumatic and I had to be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I never talk to anyone about my experience because I still find it so devastating.


We only hear positive stories in the media, pushed by pro-surrogacy organizations. It’s important that people know how badly surrogacy can go wrong, and the long-term consequences for women who offer their bodies to be used by others.




[1] Jen Willows, 10 juin 2019, « Consultation on UK surrogacy law begins », BioNews 1001.

[2] Brita van Beers & Laura Bosch, « A Revolution by Stealth: A Legal-Ethical Analysis of the Rise of Pre-Conception Authorization of Surrogacy Agreements », published online, 28/10/2020 [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20502877.2020.1836464].

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