Surrogacy in the News

Law Commission Recommending Significant Changes to Surrogacy Law

Kate Nicol-Williams | TVNZ 1News | July 31, 2021

The New Zealand Law Commission  recommended changes to surrogacy law that would no longer require adoption by intended parents and would legally recognize their parentage from birth. In this article and accompanying video, parents of surrogacy-born children express frustration and heartbreak stemming from the current complicated legal process. Members of the Commission’s advisory group support the proposals to simplify the process, but want to maintain safeguards such as domestic rather than international surrogacy arrangements, children’s rights to information about their origins, and compensation for surrogates.

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US Couple Withdraws Legal Action Against ABC Over Claim They Abandoned Surrogate Child With a Disability

Australian Associated Press | The Guardian | July 27, 2021

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation covered a story about a couple’s surrogacy arrangement in a 2019 article about Ukraine’s commercial surrogacy industry. The couple sued ABC for allegedly portraying them as heartless parents who abandoned their surrogate-born, disabled child Bridget in Ukraine. This June, the couple withdrew their defamation case due to a lack of funds, but will still be asked to pay ABC’s legal costs.   

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The Surrogacy Pathway: Surrogacy and The Legal Process For Intended Parents and Surrogates in England and Wales

Gov.UK | July 23, 2021

This guidance document outlines the surrogacy process in England and Wales and includes resources for choosing a surrogacy organization, writing a surrogacy agreement, and transferring parental rights. The document also discusses legal guidance, medical testing and genetic screening, and psychological counseling for intended parents and surrogates. 

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Duckworth Pushes For Paid Leave For Pregnancy Loss

Caitlin Huey-Burns | CBS News | July 20, 2021

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced the “Support Through Loss Act” which would require employers to provide at least three days paid leave following any reproductive loss, including miscarriage, failed adoption or surrogacy arrangement, or unsuccessful fertility procedure. Currently, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows people to take upwards of 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, but there is no paid leave program yet.

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Sex, Money, and a Baby: Canadian Judge Rules on Wild Surrogacy Case

Ellen Trachman | Above The Law | July 14, 2021

This case involves a Canadian couple struggling with infertility who had attempted unsuccessfully multiple times to conceive via IVF and surrogacy in India. The husband had an affair with a woman, who later entered an unsupervised surrogacy agreement with the couple. After various attempts to conceive, the woman eventually gave birth to a child with her donated egg and the husband’s sperm through a disputed method.  In 2020, she demanded more compensation and parenting time with the child, eventually filing a legal case. So far, the court has classified her as a nonguardian and deemed her request harmful to the child, and the case will go to trial in January 2022.

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Israeli Court Annuls Parts of Surrogacy Law Excluding Gays

AP News | July 11, 2021

In February 2020, the Israeli High Court ruled the country’s surrogacy restriction against same-sex couples and single men unconstitutional. The Court asked for changes within a year, then granted a 4-month extension after the government attributed delays to the COVID-19 outbreak. Parliament did not meet that deadline, and on July 11 the Court ruled that the amended law lifting restrictions on same-sex couples and single fathers will take effect in six months. LGBTQ advocates express that this is a “historic landmark in our struggle for equality,” noting future obstacles including legalization of same-sex marriage.

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Surrogacy Law Change: The UK Needs to Look Across The Pond

Zaina Mahmoud | BioNews | June 28, 2021

Current law in the UK automatically assigns legal motherhood to the surrogate based on gestation. To transfer legal parenthood to the intended parents, at least one parent must be a UK resident and genetically related to the baby. This commentary proposes that future UK surrogacy law reforms follow the legislation in Colorado, USA, which regulates both genetic and gestational surrogacy, requires medical screening of all parties, and recognizes non-traditional family forms.

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When a Child is Born: The Film Lifting The Lid on Surrogacy, Race, and Disability

Cath Clarke | The Guardian | June 24, 2021

The Surrogate is a film about a woman who agrees to carry a child for her best friend and his husband. Their perspectives on the agreement diverge when a prenatal test indicates the baby will be born with Down’s syndrome. In this interview, writer-director Jeremy Hersh and actress Jasmine Batchelor share their thought process behind the film that showcases a complex intersection of race, abortion, sexuality, class, and disability.

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How Many is Too Many in Surrogacy? Who is Thinking About the Children?

Dr. Marilyn Crawshaw and Professor Olga van den Akker | BioNews | June 14, 2021

Without international law to protect surrogacy-born children, an affluent few have grown their families through surrogacy for alarming reasons–the Ozturks have 20 babies to execute their dream of a large family, and a single man in Thailand currently has 13 babies out of a “hoped-for” 1000 in order to aid his possible future political election. The article claims that most of these children will not develop attachment to any main caregiver or be able to satisfy their need to know their gestational origins. More safeguarding, parental preparation, and ongoing support needs to be available to meet the psychological, social, and emotional needs of surrogacy-born children. It may be valuable to transfer some practices learned from adoption practices to surrogacy arrangements.

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Travel Exemptions Granted For IVF Tourism and Surrogacy

Caitlin Fitzsimmons | The Sydney Morning Herald | June 13, 2021

A surrogacy education charity is helping Australian citizens obtain COVID travel exemptions from the government to go abroad for IVF treatment or surrogacy arrangements not available under federal or state law. All but one state in Australia forbid commercial surrogacy and all require egg donation be altruistic, so eggs are not available and intended parents are traveling outside the country for fertility treatments. Proponents of the Australian surrogacy legislation express shock that such a charity would help citizens circumvent a law meant to protect women from the exploitative nature of commercial surrogacy. 

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