THE Law Commission recommends that parents of a baby born to a surrogate should take legal responsibility for it as soon as it is born rather than having to go through the courts. 

It wants the right to become the baby’s legal parents at birth to include same-sex couples and single men and women, and is consulting about the issue of payment to surrogate mothers.

The Commission says the surrogacy laws need an ‘overhaul’ to ‘reflect the nature of modern families’.

If someone proposed an ‘overhaul’ of the adoption process to allow anyone with enough money instantly to adopt a child, having specified its personal characteristics and possibly its genetic make-up – while keeping a few others ‘on ice’ in case something happened to the ‘commissioned’ one – they would be told that it is not only illegal but morally wrong to buy a child, however well-intentioned or however well-known and rich you are, and rightly so.

Nonetheless, also proposed is a regulator to oversee the new regime and a register which would give surrogate children a right to discover their origins, including a sperm or egg donor. The Commission’s chairman Sir Nicholas Green insists: ‘The laws around surrogacy are outdated and no longer fit for purpose. We think our proposals will create a system that works for the surrogates, the parents and, most importantly, the child.’

There are thousands of desperately needy children languishing in ‘care’, but surrogate children would not exist at all unless they had been ordered, bought and paid for, courtesy of reproductive technology. Having created an ethical problem, the proponents of the ‘modern’ family now demand the oldest of unethical solutions – to remove legal protections from the weakest party.

Far from creating a ‘system that works for the child’, this proposed change, with its emphasis on the rights of the ‘consumer’ rather than the human ‘product’, may be just another step on the way to ordering a child from Argos.

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