Make Sure New Law Doesn’t Make Surrogates ‘Useful Wombs’

Anne Else | Newsroom | August 16, 2021

New Zealand’s Adoption Act required that intended parents formally adopt a surrogate-born child from the surrogate, but this was a complicated process and sometimes left children in parentless limbo. The New Zealand Law Commission recently released two new recommended pathways related to parental recognition. The columnist advocates for the pathway that recognizes the birth mother as the legal parent at birth, who will then sign a declaration consenting to relinquish parental rights to the intended parents without a court process. She argues that this method protects the birth mother’s consent, ensures no child is stateless, and provides a simple process for intended parents to become legally recognized.

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Surrogacy Law Overhaul Could End Parents Having to Adopt Their Own Children

Cecile Meier | Stuff | August 1, 2021

This article and video detail the domestic surrogacy process in New Zealand, which requires both surrogate and intended parents to receive approval from the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART). The process requires medical testing, legal evaluation, and other consultations before fertility treatments begin. A recent Law Commission proposal would no longer require adoption by intended parents if they followed the ECART process. Barrett, parent of a surrogacy-born child, shows disappointment in the component of the proposal that requires the surrogate’s consent post-birth, reasoning that this should happen before conception.

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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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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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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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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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Legal Rights Call For Children Born Through Surrogacy

Ailbhe Conneely | RTE | June 10, 2021

The absence of surrogacy regulation means that Irish mothers have no legal ties to children born through international surrogacy and have to apply for guardianship after two years. The Department of Health has been drafting a bill on assisted reproduction since 2017, and is expected to address concerns about surrogate requirements and regulations. The timeline for the bill is unknown, but will only recognize domestic surrogacy and is likely to consider the recent report by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection. In the article, Cathy Wheatley, mom to two surrogacy-born children, expresses desire for intended mothers to have legal recognition in surrogacy situations, “because they have two parents who love them beyond belief…and we’ll just continue to fight for their rights…”

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