The wonderful news that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have welcomed a third child into their family via surrogacy has returned public attention to the myriad of different ways of forming a family in 2018.
Kim Kardashian made the difficult choice to use a surrogate after she suffered from the life- threatening condition Placenta Accreta during her first two pregnancies. This condition causes parts of the placenta to grow too deeply into the wall of the uterus during pregnancy and can cause severe haemorrhaging during birth.
Like anyone who decides that finding a surrogate is the best move for their family, Kim was very keen to ensure that she and Kanye found the right woman to carry their child. Despite the vast resources at the Kardashian-West family’s disposal, it still took the couple more than a year via an agency to find the woman who has just given birth to their new child.
Although Kim Kardashian has been reported as saying she “loves” her surrogate and has introduced her to the Kardashian family, Kim has also faced criticism over the fact that she failed to invite her surrogate to the lavish baby shower she hosted to celebrate the imminent birth of her third child.
It’s easy to understand why Kim might have been unsure of what the ‘right’ thing to do was in this situation. As we rewrite the rules of the modern family in the 21st century, it can be difficult to know who a surrogate would be to you: a friend, an acquaintance, family or something else entirely.
Unlike in the UK, however, Kim luckily did not have to face the legal uncertainty of how to define such a relationship unlike countless UK parents every year. While commercial surrogacy agreements are permitted by law in the US, in the UK such agreements are illegal and would-be-parents can walk a legal tight-rope where their child, even if genetically related to them, is not legally considered theirs until a parental order is issued at birth.
Not only does this make it harder for the 1 in 7 UK couples who have trouble conceiving to consider surrogacy as an option but it also means that surrogates themselves cannot be compensated beyond expenses for their generous role in helping create or expand a family.
As we discussed in an earlier blog (https://www.lexsnap.com/blog/2017-12-26-single-parenthood-navigating-the-surrogacy-or-adoption-process), UK law cruelly does not even allow single parents via surrogacy to be acknowledged as their child’s parent although this is thankfully changing later this year.
Hopefully this impending law change is a sign that the UK will soon approach surrogacy with something closer to the more open minded legal approach taken by the US. Until then, however, UK parents via surrogacy need to be armed with as much legal guidance as possible while they hope for the day when the most difficult surrogacy faux pas they make is whether to invite their surrogate to the baby shower.
For access to more legal information to ensure your surrogacy process is as smooth as Kim Kardashian’s, check out LexSnap’s library of bespoke surrogacy information by top UK lawyers via our questionnaire: https://www.lexsnap.com/get-started