EU harmonisation of surrogacy law: a pipe dream?

9 July 2013

Surrogacy hits the headlines again this week, not because of the Coronation Street story line, but following the report (commissioned by the European Parliament) on surrogacy across the EU Member States. My initial hope was that this comparative report would be the precursor to some form of harmonisation across Europe, but sadly, it seems that the lack of consensus between EU countries on the legality of surrogacy means we are a long way off a harmonisation of approach.

The Report, which was written by academics from the LSE and the Universite Paris I, sets out a thorough analysis of the surrogacy laws in Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania, Russia, South Africa  and Spain.  It also includes a helpful table showing an overview of the legal approach of all EU Member States.  8 out of the 28 Member States have a total ban on surrogacy, and 8 more ban commercial surrogacy.

An increasing number of families are moving across borders in the EU, taking advantage of the Freedom of Movement provisions. But, if they enter into a surrogacy arrangement in one jurisdiction, will that arrangement, and their surrogate child, be recognised in their “home” county?  The difference in approach across Europe is inevitably going to cause more legal confusion and complication over the coming years, particularly as surrogacy becomes more commonplace.  It is essential for parents to take expert legal advice before starting on their surrogacy journey.

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