Surrogacy ban 'unrealistic'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Surrogacy is legal in the UK - but paying for it is not. Women are also banned from advertising their services as surrogates and it is illegal for couples to advertise for a surrogate or offer to buy a baby.

Surrogacy is legal in the UK - but paying for it is not. Women are also banned from advertising their services as surrogates and it is illegal for couples to advertise for a surrogate or offer to buy a baby.

The Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 sought to prevent the development of a trade in babies by banning payment to agencies and third parties while recognising that it was futile and undesirable to intrude into private arrangements. It was unrealistic to "police the bedrooms of the nation", as a Health Department report put it in 1999.

The fear has always been that a total ban would drive the practice underground, exposing women to physical, psychological and financial risks. Payment of expenses is thus allowed, but desperate parents are known to have parted, as in the latest case, with many thousands of pounds.

Couples who reach a private arrangement with a surrogate must apply after the birth for a parental order to give them the legal right to the baby. But according to Surrogacy UK, the courts are not enforcing DNA testing in every case to determine paternity, which is allowing some women to "sell" their babies to couples with whom the baby has no genetic link.

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