Friday, January 4, 2019

UK embraces single people as parents for surrogacy- happy to have helped


The UK now allows single people to obtain surrogacy orders so that they can be parents.  Until now, UK law always required two people to apply.  

Matters came to a head in 2015 and 2016 when a single man wanted to be recognised as the father of his child.  The English Court found that it could not do so because the law did not permit that.  

My English colleague, trailblazing Natalie Gamble, helped her client back to Court to challenge the law as being incompatible with the UK Human Rights Act.  To strengthen their case, Natalie asked three colleagues around the world to give expert evidence about surrogacy law and practice in that country, particularly as it effected single intended parents as oppose to couples.  Each of those experts gave evidence by way of a sworn statement or affidavit.  

I was one of those experts.  I gave evidence about the Australian legal system and how it treated these matters.  My American colleague Rich Vaughn gave evidence about the surrogacy system in the United States.  My Canadian colleague Sarah Cohen gave evidence about surrogacy laws and practice in Canada.

The second case in the matter was Z (A Child) (No 2) [2016]. Natalie’s client was successful in challenging the UK law with being incompatible with the UK Human Rights Act.  

Following that change, the UK Parliament enacted laws to give effect to the judgment, namely to allow single people to become parents through surrogacy.

I am proud to have helped my colleague and her client in this matter.

More importantly, I am proud to have helped the child obtain a secure legal parent-child relationship with his father.

Natalie has written the story about the whole process, which can be found here.

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