Most British surrogates would oppose any move to commercialise the practice.
Advice group Surrogacy UK surveyed over 400 surrogates, intended parents and others interested in the surrogacy community. They found that an “overwhelming majority” of surrogacy agreements in the country involve women acting “on an altruistic basis”.
Most surrogates receive less than £15,000 over the course of their arrangement to cover expenses but do not profit from them. Commercial surrogacy agreements, in which couples pay women to carry a baby for them, are currently illegal in the UK. Many of those surveyed said they would not support its introduction.
Respondents said they wanted reforms to the law which would reduce the uncertainty surrounding parents when a child is born. At the moment, the surrogate is legally recognised as the child’s mother until the intended parents get a parental order from the court. This means that if the couple who wanted the child change their mind, the surrogate can end up stuck with a child she did not intend to keep.
Alternatively, if a surrogate decides she wants to keep the child, she can do so as she is legally the parent. A majority of surrogates questioned – 69 per cent – opposed the ability to do that, compared to only five per cent who believed a surrogate should be able to change her mind.
Natalie Smith, a trustee of Surrogacy UK, said that a change in the law to allow “the pre-authorisation of parental orders, so that legal responsibility is conferred on intended parents at birth, would go a long way to removing the uncertainty around parenthood.”
The findings were published in order to refute some popular misconceptions about the practice, such as the belief that “international surrogacy has become commonplace” among Britons. However, the research indicates that far fewer potential parents seek foreign surrogates than people may think.
To read the full Surrogacy myths busted report, click here.