Assisted Conception and Surrogacy in the United Kingdom

Authored by: Emily Jackson

Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367195526
eBook ISBN: 9781003058519
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter covers the regulation of assisted conception (such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and donor insemination) and surrogacy in the United Kingdom (for discussion of such regulation in Australia, see Chapter 3.2 of this book). In addition to pioneering IVF, the UK was also one of the first countries to regulate it through a comprehensive licensing regime. In contrast, for the last 30 years, the UK’s regulation of surrogacy has been piecemeal and patchy (for further discussions of surrogacy see Chapter 3.2 and 7.1 of this book). This difference is hard to explain and defend, given that surrogacy arrangements raise issues that are at least as complicated as those raised when a couple undergoes IVF with their own sperm and eggs. A consultation launched by the Scottish and English Law Commissions in 2019 may lead to new surrogacy legislation within the next few years.

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