Launch of All Party Parliamentary Group Report on Surrogacy
26th April 2021
Robert Gilmour was invited to attend the All Party Parliamentary Group on Surrogacy official webinar launch for their report on the law and practice of surrogacy in the UK. Robert gave evidence to the APPG leading up to the creation of the report.
The webinar included an address from Lord Bethell of Romford, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, who reaffirmed the government’s commitment to supporting surrogacy as a means of family formation and to taking forward reform of surrogacy law when the Law Commissions of England and Wales and Scotland complete their report and produce a draft bill, now expected to be in 2022. The minister also made clear that the government supported two key planks of the approach taken by the Law Commissions and supported by the APPG, namely that the law should seek to encourage UK parents to pursue surrogacy arrangements within the UK rather than looking overseas, and that surrogacy in the UK should continue to follow an “altruistic” rather than “commercial” model.
There is increasing cause for optimism that, with government support and a stable parliamentary majority, long overdue reform in this area may not be too far off. While the detail of the draft bill remains to be seen, it is likely that it will not go far enough for some reform campaigners. However, as the chair of the APPG, Andrew Percy MP, observed, broad cross party support and a safe and uncontroversial passage through the legislature may be undermined if the bill seeks to go beyond the scope of the broad consensus for reform which has been built over recent years.
We will have to hope that the bill is able strike the balance between maintaining broad consensus and avoiding messy compromise. The excellent work undertaken by the Law Commissions to date gives cause for optimism, but as always, the devil may be in the detail.
If you are interested in discussing this further please contact Robert, who leads our surrogacy and assisted reproduction team.