British intended parents enter around 250 domestic surrogacy arrangements a year, with several others travelling overseas to access surrogacy. These take place within a complex and thoroughly confused regulatory and legal framework, which has remained largely unchanged since the mid-1980s.
Research into surrogacy by Dr Kirsty Horsey calls for a comprehensive review and overhaul of the current law, and the development of a new legal framework that not only reflects the intentions of the parties involved and the lived realities of modern-day surrogacy, but also ends the legal limbo experienced by many intended parents, particularly those who travel overseas.
Working with Surrogacy UK (the largest non-profit surrogacy organisation in the UK), Dr Horsey’s research has led to substantial changes in the oversight and regulation of surrogacy in the UK, and to Government policy relating to surrogacy as a form of family creation. It continues to be used in ongoing campaigns for legal reforms, including by the Law Commission, which will potentially benefit hundreds of families a year.
Surrogacy UK state that Kirsty Horsey’s research was ‘instrumental in opening up the possibility of new surrogacy legislation in the UK … We fundamentally believe that without … [it] the process of law reform, that is now well underway, would have been significantly slower, narrower in scope, and may not have happened at all’.
Dr Kirsty Horsey is a Reader in Law at Kent Law School. She is currently working as a Senior Research Associate at the London Women’s Clinic and London Egg Bank.