What do I need to know about surrogacy law?
Welcome to another episode of The Fertility Podcast, did you know you can subscribe to this show on Spotify?
This episode sees Kate and I in the same place recording, which after spending six months together we have decided to continue our ‘podmance’ and spent a day in Kate’s kitchen making a plan for 2020. So we’d love to know what you think of it so far, either by rate and review us wherever you listen or email us
Meet Natalie Gamble, her firm NGA Law has just celebrated 10 years and was the first fertility law firm in the UK. Natalie has two teenage children with her wife and talked to Kate and I about how when they set about starting their family really hard to access fertility treatment.
Same Sex couples
Only two clinics in the UK that would treat same sex couples which seems hard to believe, seeing as it wasn’t that long ago and when Natalie’s daughter was was born, her partner had no recognition as her parent as the pair couldn’t get married, so her partner had no status.
Eventually, they were able to adopt and her wife is now the full legal parent but Natalie described how each stage they went through, they were the first to do it and so difficult. Natalie had just qualified as a lawyer and decided to dedicate her work to fertility law helping others who were conceiving in different ways whether that was fertility treatment, donation or surrogacy
Winning legal recognition
She talked about how her always been about helping other people make their families possible and wanting to change the rules, change the law, make things more inclusive, allowing families who may feel marginalised or that if they think because the way they are doing it isn’t typical that they are just as valid and they deserve the law to recognise them.
Natalie thrives on meeting people who are at the start of their journeys and giving them the positivity that they can do this explaining the solutions. Wanting to have a family is completely normal
I referred to a podcast series I made for Surrogacy UK which you can hear
Change in the Law
Natalie explained how the Head of High Court Family division said there needed to be a change in the surrogacy law and they recommended the Government asked the law commission to review the law. In 2018 – Law Commission started a project to review it. Government will make a decision as to look at a whole new system for surrogacy and there is acceptance that it is a legitimate form of family building respect what everyone is trying to achieve. For people going through surrogacy if people have followed sensible steps, putting things in writing, having counselling and have a regulated surrogacy organisation that will then the Intended Parents to be legal parents from birth which is really important. About half of people go abroad, so the government should have the power to recognise them on their return home.
Professionally managed process
enables people to have the process managed, unlike the other ways of doing it in the UK. Women who come forward and want to work with us they have counselling, legal advice, a psychological assessment, helps them understand all those key decisions. It’s a similar process with IP’s and then do a bespoke 1-1 match, then the pressure is off them to choose. They work with personality style and communication and do the matching to help through the process, hand holding all the way through, the pregnancy, making sure everyone communicates.
They act as the intermediary and help with the legal side and getting parenthood sorted and birth registration. It is a very nurturing way of doing surrogacy.
Friendships that last
Natalie’s aim is to create friendships and relationships that will last, helping people to assimilate a lot of information and understand what the process is involved. Issues such as expenses for surrogates can be a breeding ground for anxiety and confusion. The law isn’t simple and what happens is there are no criminal offences around it however when the parents apply to become the legal parents its an issue for family court, it family makes it clear to authorise payments however there are no regulations. It is quite common to receive a bit extra for the surrogate, for everything she’s committing for this
If you are involved in known donation or coparenting there can be complications down the line. Most important thing is aligned expectations. Disputed cases are where people went in positively but didn’t communicate what they wanted. There can be confusion around role models or uncle figures as it can mean different things to different people.
Be clear on how much involvement you want the donor to have are they going to be co-parent or fully involved.
Non traditional family building is never an accident
Natalie talked about trying to not get overwhelmed. Take your time thing about things and how in 20 years ago things have changed considerably, as there as now so many options. Natalie’s firm has dealt with 1200 surrogacy cases and only two have involved disputes
Get in touch via email
Source: The Fertility Podcast