Womb Service: The Moral Dangers of Surrogacy

“Last month, the Law Commission published its long-awaited report on the legal status of the surrogacy industry. It contained – as expected – one particularly alarming recommendation. Alongside various tweaks to payment and regulation processes, the Commission suggests a crucial change to the parental status of a baby born by surrogacy.

“At present, the woman who gives birth to the baby is considered to be that child’s legal parent, and the intended parents are obliged to apply for a parental order following birth. But if the Law Commission gets its way, the situation will be reversed. Although the surrogate will still have the right to object, the default presumption in law will be that she is not the child’s mother. In implementing this recommendation, the UK government would be making a clear statement on the nature not only of surrogacy, but also of motherhood: to put it bluntly, that it is both morally and legally acceptable to deliberately engineer the separation of mother and infant.”At present, the woman who gives birth to the baby is considered to be that child’s legal parent, and the intended parents are obliged to apply for a parental order following birth. But if the Law Commission gets its way, the situation will be reversed. Although the surrogate will still have the right to object, the default presumption in law will be that she is not the child’s mother. In implementing this recommendation, the UK government would be making a clear statement on the nature not only of surrogacy, but also of motherhood: to put it bluntly, that it is both morally and legally acceptable to deliberately engineer the separation of mother and infant.”


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