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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

22 JAN 2014

Surrogacy, egg donation and assisted reproduction: payments and the conflict of law and policy

Louisa Ghevaert, Partner, Porter Dodson LLP

Ruth Cabeza, Barrister, Field Court Chambers

Re C [2013] EWHC 2408 (Fam) concerned a commercial US (Californian) surrogacy arrangement and a subsequent parental order application by British intended parents. The case represents a sophisticated response to evolving and conflicting cross-border law and policy and strikes a careful balance between the interests of intended parents, the surrogate, the child, the surrogacy agency, the clinician and the egg donor.In this case, the English court redefined and clarified its approach to international surrogacy, egg donation and assisted reproduction.  The court made clear that it will robustly scrutinise and investigate all aspects of the surrogacy arrangement to ensure there has been no abuse of public policy and it highlights the importance of transparency and detailed disclosure.

Re C marks the authorization by the English court of one of the highest amounts ever paid to a surrogate mother. The court carefully revisited the parameters for retrospectively authorizing all payments made within the context of the surrogacy arrangement having regard to s 54(8) Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 in view of the UK public policy restriction against commercial surrogacy. In doing so, the court for the first time married jurisprudence between egg donation and surrogacy law and policy in the UK.

The full version of this article appears in the February 2014 issue of Family Law.


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