Will a UN treaty bring an end to cross-border surrogacy like it did for adoption?

The question of whether the UN will develop an international treaty relating to surrogacy arrangements as it did a quarter century ago for adoption is up for discussion

As inter-country adoptions have become subject to international standards since 1993, they have declined sharply in the last two decades. It has meant international surrogacy arrangements have rapidly increased.

Unlike international adoption, there is no treaty to protect the rights of children born via cross-border surrogacy

Just six countries have legal frameworks which allow foreigners to engage safely in cross-border surrogacy. The high demand has led to a rise in operators offering surrogacy in countries which have no surrogacy frameworks – countries as diverse as Malaysia, Laos, Albania, Kenya, Guatemala, and Columbia.

Given this trend, Families Through Surrogacy’s London seminar on 29 June will focus particularly on safe pathways to family formation using donor eggs and/or surrogacy in the UK, Greece and the US

These events aim to help infertile singles and couples navigate a complex landscape. 

This seminar will also look at how the state of Texas practices surrogacy, with talks from medical and surrogacy professionals

It will also look at a number of the problems that are arising in surrogacy destinations overloaded with demand.

Meanwhile the Special Rapporteur to the UN on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography has presented a controversial report to the UN Human Rights Council arguing that under international human rights law, commercial surrogacy amounts to the sale of children. Her concern is that legislation permitting commercial surrogacy authorises practices that violate the 1993 Hague Convention which prioritises the best interests of the child.

The Special Rapporteur has declared commercial surrogacy would not constitute sale of children if the UK model was adopted globally, where the surrogate is accorded the status of mother at birth, is under no contractual or legal obligation to give up the child and has received all compensation prior to the birth. It is a concept that horrifies many in the US commercial surrogacy industry

In response, an invitation-only International Surrogacy Forum next month at Cambridge Family Law Centre will bring together surrogacy experts from the UK, US, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to look at these issues in depth

Families Through Surrogacy’s London event the day after will provide an update on this ongoing debate, as well as panels of UK parents and experts to help you navigate safe route to parenthood either here or offshore. Full details here

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