Alternative ways of having children

Tuesday 10th March 2020

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A surrogacy storyline featured recently in The Archers shows just how far mainstream society has come in acknowledging the alternative ways people can have children. It wasn’t that long ago that gay and single people in the UK were unable to adopt, but now a record number of gay people are adopters. Many people will have had experience of IVF either personally or through a friend or family member and using donor eggs or sperm is seen as a common solution for those with fertility issues or who haven’t met the right person with which to have a baby in a more conventional way. Celebrities such as Robbie Williams and Kim Kardashian have brought surrogacy into the public eye as an acceptable way to extend a family.

However, a result of the rapid change in societal attitudes to reproductive medicine, the new ways of having children can sometimes raise new thorny legal issues which might not have been anticipated. It was well documented in the press for example, not long ago, that a man attempted to obtain damages from an IVF clinic who had impregnated his former partner without his consent using sperm obtained whilst the couple were still together.

The international case of baby Gammy showed the potential for problems with surrogacy when his commissioning parents left him with the surrogate after he was born with Down Syndrome. If someone in the UK wishes to be a sperm donor, the law that applies varies depending on whether it takes place at a fertility clinic or elsewhere. The waters can also be muddied if an international element is involved as different countries have different rules on subjects such as surrogacy.

Alternative Ways of Having Children is a new course which examines the tricky legal issues that can arise as a result of IVF, surrogacy and donor pregnancies, looking at recent case law and current legislation together with drafting tips to ensure that anyone advising clients about any of these options is giving the most up to date advice on this ever changing area.

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