“Education, too?”: tips for investigating sexual allegations in schools and higher education settings
Whilst maternity pay and protection is not an issue for high profile women using surrogates to become mothers, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, it is a very real problem and issue for most average working women who are not Hollywood superstars. It was widely reported in the press last week that a mother who had a child using a surrogate is taking the Government to the High Court to win the right to receive maternity pay. She is claiming that her human rights are being breached by being denied the opportunity to take paid maternity leave to look after and bond with her son.
This blog discusses how the family courts are dealing with the competing interests of the parents, donors and children.
Following the publication of ‘Adoption League Tables’ ranking local authorities as to how quickly children are placed for adoption, the Government has announced a widespread review of the adoption system. The aim is to ensure that children are placed with families quicker by making the system more efficient less onerous for hopeful parents. This is backed by a campaign to encourage adopters and foster carers to volunteer. The Family Justice System (courts and Cafcass officers) will also be subject to closer scrutiny and new procedures are likely to be proposed later this week as part of the Norgrave review. All of these measures are designed to ‘speed up’ a system which, last year, resulted in only 60 of the 3600 babies (under 1 year) available for adoption being placed with families.
The ethical and legal issues surrounding surrogacy have hit the headlines over the last few weeks as a result of the comments of Mr Justice Hedley on 19 May, who highlighted the difficulties he faced when asked to give retrospective judicial authority to commercial surrogacy arrangements made abroad. He said that Judges were focusing on the best interests of children born to a surrogate but he pointed out there was a tension between the interpretation of statute and the welfare of the surrogate child.
The debate surrounding Surrogacy is likely to be one of the hot topics of 2011, following the announcement that Elton John and David Furnish became parents (on Christmas day 2010) to Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, who was born to a surrogate mother in the US. Since 28 December, the UK press has been jam packed with articles debating the morality of gay surrogacy and the changing face of the traditional “nuclear family”.
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