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Surrogacy Consultation - Update

(21 Posts)
PaleBlueMoonlight Sat 21-Mar-20 08:13:47

Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere, but update from the Law Commission:

“We are getting in touch because you responded to the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission consultation on Building Families Through Surrogacy: A New Law. We are writing to give you an update on the project.

We had a large response to our consultation and are very grateful for the extent to which a wide range of stakeholders have engaged with us on these important issues. We are analysing those responses carefully and continuing to engage with stakeholders about the views they have expressed. We are also carefully monitoring the evolving case law around parenthood and birth registration.

After we have completed our analysis we will move to formulating final policy and finalising the detail of the scheme that we will recommend to Government. We will also be working with Parliamentary drafters to produce a bill. In light of the extent of stakeholder interest and the evolving case law, we anticipate that the project will run longer than previously planned, until early 2022.

Thank you for your interest in the project. Please refer to the project websites for the latest information and updates:“

OP’s posts: |
2Rebecca Sat 21-Mar-20 09:09:24

I got that and am pleased lots of people filled it in and the consultation wasnt just the paper exercise the impression the Law Commission seemed to want.

2Rebecca Sat 21-Mar-20 09:11:10

Oops I changed that sentence part way through and mangled it.

OhHolyJesus Sat 21-Mar-20 09:37:33

Thanks for this OP, I'll check my emails.

An interesting time to release that, if I was being cynical.

I welcome the delay for obvious reasons but we must keep our eye on this and other consultations.

FannyCann Sat 21-Mar-20 09:49:22

I wonder if the Law Commissioners have been forced to acknowledge that "stakeholders" includes women, who are the ones they expect to stand and deliver, providing breeding services for the other "stakeholders" whose opinions they seem to value so much? The original list of "stakeholders" seemed only to involve the lawyers and surrogacy agencies and IVF clinics who will profit financially from an expansion of surrogacy, the baby buyers who want a supply of willing breeders, and also women who had been or who want to be a surrogate mother as a "stakeholder".

I hope they received many replies from women who consider themselves "stakeholders" and who find the proposals objectionable.

FannyCann Sat 21-Mar-20 09:54:06

Latest answer to an FOI submitted by a dogged digger from Mumsnet (star)

Some of the "stakeholders" who have had a say:

Further to your email of 9 March please find below our response, set out
in tabular form, to your enquiry regarding panel members at the symposium
held on 12 September 2019. We have not provided the names of those
individuals who were invited to sit on panels purely because of their
personal experience of surrogacy or donor conception, in line with the
position as set out in my email to you of 3 March, under the heading
The panellists did not present prepared materials and as a result, we do
not hold such information.
Yours sincerely
Spencer Clarke
Name Panel Reason for invitation
Dr Claire Fenton-Glynn Pathways to Legal Lecturer in law,
Parenthood University of Cambridge,
expert in children’s
rights, comparative law
and international human
rights law
[NOT PROVIDED] Pathways to Legal Personal experience of
Parenthood being a surrogate
Michael Johnson-Ellis Pathways to Legal Personal experience of
Parenthood becoming a parent through
surrogacy and blogger on
same-sex parenting and
Andrew Spearman Pathways to Legal Solicitor and member of
Parenthood Surrogacy UK Ethics
Lillian Odze Pathways to Legal Social worker and CAFCASS
Parenthood Advisor in the High Court
Spencer Clarke Pathways to Legal Lawyer at the Law
Parenthood (panel Commission of England and
chair) Wales
Professor Emily Jackson Regulation Professor of Law at LSE,
expert in medical law and
Helen Prosser Regulation Founder at Brilliant
Beginnings and NGA Law
Natalie Smith Regulation Chair of Surrogacy UK
Working Group and
personal experience of
becoming a parent through
Kim Cotton Regulation Personal experience of
being a surrogate and
head of Childlessness
Overcome Through
Surrogacy (COTS)
[NOT PROVIDED] Regulation Personal experience of
being a surrogate
Andrew Powell Regulation (panel Barrister at 4 Paper
chair) Buildings, Member of
Surrogacy UK Working
Dr Kirsty Horsey Payments to the Reader in Law, University
Surrogate of Kent and Member of the
Surrogacy UK Ethics
Natalie Gamble Payments to the Founder, NGA Law and
Surrogate Brilliant Beginnings
Sarah Jones Payments to the Personal experience of
Surrogate being a surrogate,
Surrogacy UK Board of
Dr Herjeet Marway Payments to the Lecturer in Ethics,
Surrogate University of Birmingham
and Chair of Surrogacy UK
Ethics Committee,
researches global ethics
from a feminist and
critical race perspective
[NOT PROVIDED] Payments to the Personal experience of
Surrogate being a parent through
Colin Rogerson Payments to the Partner at Dawson
Surrogate Cornwell
Professor Nick Hopkins Payments to the Commissioner at Law
Surrogate (panel chair) Commission of England and
Professor Susan Golombok Children’s Access to Professor of Family
Information Research and Director of
the Centre for Family
Research at the
University of Cambridge,
expert in impact of new
family forms on parenting
and child development
[NOT PROVIDED] Children’s Access to Adult born through
Information surrogacy
[NOT PROVIDED] Children’s Access to Adult born through donor
Information conception
Nina Barnsley Children’s Access to Director of the Donor
Information Conception Network
Dr Marilyn Crawshaw Children’s Access to Chair of the British
Information Association of Social
Workers Project Group on
Assisted Reproduction
[NOT PROVIDED] Children’s Access to Personal experience of
Information being a parent through
Dr Katherine Wade Children’s Access to Lecturer in Law,
Information (panel University of Leicester,
chair) expert on children’s
rights, family law and
medical law and ethics
Spencer Clarke | Law Commission
Lawyer | Property, Family and Trust Law Team
1st Floor, Tower, Post Point 1.53, 52 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AG
(access via 102 Petty France)
Tel: 020 3334 31522_ | Web:

334bu Sat 21-Mar-20 09:59:05

Scottish link is showing page not found?

FannyCann Sat 21-Mar-20 10:20:29

Some background to the consultation that has been revealed following digging by other groups.

Unbeknown to practically everyone, unless you are someone who watches these things, the Law Commission launched the 13th Programme Of Law Reform consultation to seek the public's views on the issues most in need of reform in July 2016. The consultation received the largest ever volume of responses with over 1300 submissions covering 220 different topics.

From those suggestions, in December 2017 the commissioners chose 14 topics for their new programme.

Surrogacy was one of those topics. Apparently of the 1200 replies there were 300+ submissions demanding reform of surrogacy laws. Someone who is involved with a women's rights groups has obtained those responses through some dogged FOI investigating. That person currently has lots of huge files on their computer and limited time to go through them all as it is obviously a huge job.

It will however give a very good idea who all these "stakeholders" who are so keen for reform of the law are.

The law commissioners report that they received around 700 responses to the consultation last year.
Quite a few from Mumsnetters thanks to lots of robust discussion and publicising their plans on these pages.

It has occurred to me that of the 700 it is possible they had at least as many, or maybe even a few more, negative responses than the obviously keen ones from the original 300+ who demanded change.
How many negative responses are enough to mean the have to listen and adjust their plans?

They will not release those 700 responses until after they have completed their proposals.

If anyone would like to know more about the original 300 requests please DM me. I don't have them, but anyone can do what this other person has done to obtain them. I would dearly like to see them, but I am very time poor and with a rather ancient laptop I mostly rely on my iPad so I don't think I have the computer power to deal with it.

FannyCann Sat 21-Mar-20 10:28:39

Link to background to the 13th law reform project. I've just seen on their other link that they say they had over 340 requests for surrogacy law reform.

I have to say, I had no idea this is how new laws are enacted:

Special interest groups lobby for law reform via a little known "public" consultation.
Law commissioners decide that's a good project and run with it.
All Party Parliamentary Group in cahoots with the law Commission.
Proposals for new law released to little known about public consultation in the expectation of cheers all round.

Proposals for new laws drawn up. Of we go.

Will they take note of the critical voices?

PaleBlueMoonlight Sat 21-Mar-20 10:37:57

It is just like the GRA, there is an assumption that this is a niche issue just affecting those advocating for a change in legislation. It is "Invisible Women" at institutional level - failing to see women as a human grouping with the right not to be expoited. They are not necessarily failing to see the exploitation, just putting at the bottom of the list of things that are important. Women and their unique biology are not valued.

OP’s posts: |
PaleBlueMoonlight Sat 21-Mar-20 10:40:26


And for clarity, I am not saying the surrogacy and GRA issues are the same, just the fact that the effects on women who are uninvolved in that niche area are not even in the frame of reference, let alone of central importance.

OP’s posts: |
OhHolyJesus Sat 21-Mar-20 13:39:17

That's it exactly OP, invisible women at an institutional level. Nicely sums it up although it's horribly depressing as well!

FannyCann Sat 21-Mar-20 13:57:53

Yes I agree , that sums it up exactly OP.

Prioritising a small group of interested parties whilst being blind to the exploitation of the human group who are expected to provide the service.

Gibbonsgibbonsgibbons Sat 21-Mar-20 22:24:02

Thank you for all the additional information Fanny flowers

Sounds like they could have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky support humans...

OhHolyJesus Sun 22-Mar-20 19:59:06

For those who might fancy a isolation group viewing, The Nest is on tonight on BBC from 9pm. I'll be watching!

FannyCann Tue 19-May-20 06:59:34

PaleBlueMoonlight summed it up as Invisible Women at institutional level.

It is just like the GRA, there is an assumption that this is a niche issue just affecting those advocating for a change in legislation. It is "Invisible Women" at institutional level - failing to see women as a human grouping with the right not to be expoited. They are not necessarily failing to see the exploitation, just putting at the bottom of the list of things that are important. Women and their unique biology are not valued.

FannyCann Tue 19-May-20 07:00:44

Forgot my punctuation- no """"

That was PBM post on the thread.

FannyCann Tue 19-May-20 07:02:31

Whoops. It's too early for me - I was trying to post on another thread. Ignore me. blush

ChattyLion Tue 19-May-20 08:45:32

Excellently put PaleBlue

There is a similarity with the GRA public consultations in the past couple of years in England and Wales, and in Scotland. Like those, the LC intended to consult only on extending existing legal activities in the UK and internationally. These are still highly controversial despite the length of time since enactment in both cases.

Both areas have also since observed emerging negative impacts on identifiable groups. These should be of objective concern to anyone- whatever their view of the current law.

In the case of GRC a new group has been heard, detransitioned people as well as well documented negative effects on lesbians and other women.

In case of surrogacy, the voice of children aged above early childhood about their experiences of it still seems to be unresearched, as do the voices of any surrogates (or those representing them) who did not have a positive experience or who were exploited or left disabled or died as part of it. There are also the recent reports of the unparented babies left stranded by Coronavirus restrictions, spending their early months or life in rooms of other crying babies in the Ukraine. These impacts or the potential to create such problems were unforeseen, unheard or were disregarded back when the relevant laws were enacted.

ChattyLion Tue 19-May-20 09:01:34

So these existing laws are still controversial because of their fundamental principles, including what they say about the value, purpose and voice of women as a class. Also because as these laws are being used over time and as society changes over time their practical effects on women and children’s lives get clearer.

Yet IIRC all these consultations had disclaimers saying that questioning existing law is outside their consultation, and they only wanted responses to their suggestions of further extensions to these.

So how fair is it if we will only get information back from the Law commission on the consultation responses in the final report, several years after they have been submitted? There must have been hundreds of responses rejecting the current situation. The LC should be saying clearly how they will consider these as part of the final report. They can’t just ignore them, because they didn’t respond to their narrow questions.

PaleBlueMoonlight Tue 19-May-20 09:20:07

Yes, it is interesting that they will not look at existing law. You would have thought that they would need to look at how well existing law is working (is it having its intended effects, are there any unintended consequences?) before determining whether and how it should be extended. Maybe they do. Still, if effects on women as a population are not a factor for consideration or any negative effects on women are not weighted as an important factor, then it wouldn't help in any event.

OP’s posts: |

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