BBC Radio 5 Live Interview: proposals to lift advertising restrictions on surrogacy in the UK

30 January 2020

During a BBC Radio 5 Live interview with Sarah Brett on 29 January 2020, Louisa Ghevaert was pleased to debate proposals to lift UK advertising restrictions on surrogacy and wider surrogacy law reform currently under consideration by The Law Commission of England and Wales and The Scottish Law Commission. This follows a warning from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (the HFEA) that removal of advertising restrictions around surrogacy “might constitute a significant cultural change for the UK, which could attract considerable public interest and perhaps criticism.” Critics argue it could lead to vulnerable groups of women being targeted by social media adverts and surrogacy becoming more commercialised in the UK.

At present, legal restrictions in the UK prevent advertisements containing an indication (howsoever expressed) that a person is willing to be a surrogate or is looking for a surrogate. In the absence of a friend or relative willing to become a surrogate, intended parents have the option to contact a UK not-for-profit surrogacy organisation in the hope of making contact with a prospective surrogate. Surrogacy arrangements in the UK are not legally binding and UK law expects no more than ‘reasonable pregnancy related expenses’ to be paid to a surrogate.

Louisa explained that we should be careful about advertising to avoid surrogacy appearing transactional. Louisa went on to say that surrogacy in the UK has a special character that should be respected and protected. Rules around advertising for surrogacy should reflect this.

The proposal to lift advertising restrictions on surrogacy is just one of a number of law reforms currently under consideration as part of the creation of a new regulated domestic surrogacy pathway to address outdated surrogacy law in the UK. You can read more in our previous blog “Law Commission: reforming surrogacy law”.

Need an expert surrogacy lawyer? If you would like to discuss your situation or you require specialist fertility and family law advice and assistance please contact Louisa by email or by telephone +44 (0)20 7965 8399.

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