pregnant woman holding her stomach

Research grant to test surrogacy myth

Surrogacy law reform champion Dr Kirsty Horsey has secured a Kent Faculty Research Fund grant of £3,375 to critically test a ‘myth’ that traditional surrogacy (where the surrogate uses her own egg) is materially different to host surrogacy (where the surrogate is implanted with genetic material unrelated to her).

Dr Horsey will undertake empirical research to determine what difference may or may not exist between the way traditional and host surrogates view both their surrogacy journey and their genetic connection to the child.

The research project, ‘Surrogates Views on traditional surrogacy: is it different?’, is timely given that both the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission are conducting a UK-wide review of laws on surrogacy. The Law Commissions are aware that some jurisdictions regulate traditional and host surrogacy differently and recognise that there is a gap in research in this area. Dr Horsey’s findings will help fill this gap, informing legal reform as well as public and political debate on surrogacy.

Many of these myths were dispelled in a report published by Dr Horsey back in November 2015. Her report, ‘Surrogacy in the UK: Myth busting and reform’, provided an unprecedented insight into how surrogacy is practised in the UK. It was produced as part of Surrogacy UK’s Working Group on Surrogacy Law Reform. Dr Horsey subsequently organised a London conference looking at surrogacy law reform in May 2016, the proceedings of which were subsequently published in a special edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics and Law.

Dr Horsey is a Reader in Law at Kent Law School. She is also part of the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Surrogacy.