The rights and welfare of surrogate mothers are being ignored by the Law Commission

Later in her career, Baroness Warnock, architect of the UK’s fertility legislation, apologised for having “got surrogacy wrong all those years ago”. The 1984 Warnock report should not, she said, have condemned the practice. Her views had been coloured by her experience: as a mother, she would have found it impossible to hand over a baby she had carried.

Maybe it’s a good thing, then, that none of the UK law commissioners who have just set out proposals to make surrogacy easier, is capable of succumbing, as she did, to sentimental prejudice. By great good luck – for the occasional woman has, in the past, talked her way in – the six-strong Law Commission of England and Wales, tasked with modernising the law, is all male. The public can be confident that there was never a chance these reformers could allow an understanding of how it feels to carry a child, to undergo this all-consuming physical upheaval, to give birth, and then to live with the irreversible physical aftermath, to compromise their assessment of whether surrogacy is a gendered industry that this country can, ethically, encourage.

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