Suzi Denton
Associate Solicitor
Make an enquiry
Date Published:03 Dec 2018 Last Updated:04 Aug 2021

Former President of Family Court calls for law reform on payments to surrogates

Fertility Law

Sir James Munby, who recently retired as the most senior Family Court judge in England and Wales, has said he believes that surrogacy law needs to change, to keep pace with modern society.

The rules around payments to surrogates in the UK are outdated, and do not reflect what is happening in practice. The law currently permits the payment of ‘reasonable expenses’ to surrogates, but there is no set amount which is considered ‘reasonable’. Even if a judge feels that the amount exceeds ‘reasonable expenses’, the court still has the power to authorise the payments.

Sir Munby said ‘By and large even in the cases the court says it’s not a proper expense, the judge waves it through because otherwise what do you do? It’s probably better to face up to reality and move to a proper system of regulation rather than prohibition.’

We agree that the law on payments is not fit for purpose, and leaves both intended parents and surrogates in a confusing and difficult position.

A new legal framework on payments would provide much-needed clarity and transparency for everyone.

Sir Munby observed ‘Society is moving on and the challenge for lawmakers is what steps, if any, we take to accommodate those changes into our legal framework.’