An important article with information about recent developments on legislation efforts to regulate surrogacy and codify best practices. In her article, Zania Mahmoud from the University of Exeter does a good job in highlighting some of the key ethical, legal and psychological questions and how they are addressed differently in recent legislation in New York and Colorado. Among them are eligibility criteria for both surrogates and intended parents, mental screening and counseling, how laws can provide much needed clarity and predictability on parental rights while respecting surrogate’s autonomy, and genetic surrogacy (or ‘double donation’).
Ms. Mahmoud’s article, titled "Surrogacy law change: The UK needs to look across the pond,” is one of several voices that call for incorporating best practices from the USA in the process of reforming surrogacy laws in the UK. This process is headed by the Law Commission of England and Wales and Scottish Law Commission, and final legislation is expected early 2022. "In addition to consulting with stakeholders and experts, the joint law commissions have looked abroad for inspiration. The UK is not alone in updating its surrogacy laws,” states Mahmoud.
Concerning the most recent laws passed in the USA, the author prefers the version in Colorado’s "Surrogacy Agreement Act" [HB1022] that was signed into law in May 2021. “The Colorado legislation regulates both genetic and gestational surrogacy, which widens access to surrogacy for both surrogates and intended parents. When genetic surrogacy is seen as a viable alternative to gestational surrogacy, the process is less time-consuming and less costly, as less medical intervention is required."
Mahmoud concludes: "Reforms are likely to be controversial, as is surrogacy itself, however they are essential to reflect the needs of contemporary society. The law commissions’ consultation papers indicate that we are headed towards a more accepting and inclusive regulatory framework. Ideally, proposed reforms to UK legislation reforms will additionally safeguard the health and wellbeing of all those involved.”
MHB joins the author’s hope that the expected legislation in the UK next year, and other such efforts (such as in the Netherlands), will wisely benefit from the recent significant legislative efforts, in our march towards more balanced, level-headed, and ethical surrogacy parenting practices.