None of us can fail to have been affected by the stories we have read recently regarding the Australian/Thai surrogacy that appears to have gone wrong. Whilst there have been allegations and counter allegations made, as always, there are two sides to a story. What this does however is highlight the complex and difficult nature of surrogacy.
Whether surrogacy occurs in this country or abroad it is governed by many rules and regulations. Just because a surrogacy takes place abroad and the rules may be lax compared to this country, couples who wish to bring children back into this country also face complicated rules that need to be followed for the child to be admitted to the country and to obtain citizenship here.
Whilst you should never look at a child as being a commodity you need to remember entering into a surrogacy is forming a contract. As is the nature of contract the devil really is in the detail. What should be a happy time can become a nightmare when things do not go as planned for instance: the surrogate changes her mind and refuses to hand over a child, the child is born with a deformity/disability and the commissioning parent changes their view.
These are examples of real problems that have arisen in the past.
As a contract, sitting down before you enter into a surrogacy arrangement is important to iron out the “what if”. This allows all parties to know exactly what the level of expectation is. Of course, in this country surrogacy cannot be undertaken for money (save acceptable expenses) and no one is suggesting these contracts should ever move to where there is an exchange of money. However what is important for couples who are commissioning a surrogate and for the commissioned surrogate to understand is the boundaries around the surrogacy and what is and isn’t accepted. It is not that long ago that the press were full of stories of a surrogate who actually wasn’t a surrogate who obtained money by pretending to be one.
If surrogacy is something you are considering, it is vital that before you commit to it, and before pregnancy happens, that you take proper legal advice as to what are the right channels that you need to go through and what are the pitfalls, so that when the baby is born it becomes a happy occasion and not one fraught with anxiety and difficulties.
Here at The Family Law Company we understand how emotive this subject can be and have professionals who can help you through it.