The changing profile of surrogacy in the UK – Implications for national and international policy and practice
Marilyn Crawshaw, Eric Blyth & Olga van den Akker
Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Volume 34, Issue 3, 2012, pp. 267-277
Since 2007, the numbers of UK Parental Orders granted following surrogacy have markedly increased. More recently, eligibility criteria have been extended to unmarried heterosexual couples and same-sex couples rather than only married couples. Numbers seeking fertility treatments, including through surrogates, outside their country of residence have also increased. This paper presents the limited data currently available – from UK General Register Offices, Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service for England and the UK surrogacy agencies: COTS, Surrogacy UK, British Surrogacy Centre – to consider potential reasons for the increase and to consider policy and practice implications. It charts the apparent decline in involvement of surrogacy agencies and suggests the potential for exploitation where scrutiny of arrangements and follow up are limited. It recommends improvements to data collection and argues the need for a more integrated approach to review of surrogacy arrangements both nationally and internationally.