S1, Ep 5. Surrogacy – a relationship, not a transaction

Zaina Mahoud completed her bachelors’ degree at the University of Western Ontario in Canada and moved to the University of Exeter to pursue her law degree. Following her LLB, she completed a masters’ degree in intellectual property law. She is a currently undertaking a Wellcome Trust funded PhD at the University of Exeter, looking at surrogacy regulation in the U.K. and in California from a socio-legal and medical perspective. Her research is concerned with how legal frameworks affect the experiences of surrogates, in terms of their autonomy and health and wellbeing, and so she’s working with surrogates, lawyers, academics and healthcare practitioners to co-create her interviews and has already started her interviews in the U.K. 

In today’s episode we discuss the current law surrounding surrogacy in the UK and the latest proposals to reform the law governing surrogacy.   

We also discuss overall attitudes towards surrogacy, and the reasons many are misinformed on what surrogates actually do, and how the law isn’t matching the expectations of the surrogates or the intended parents – so it really is failing both sides.

 We also talk about Zainas’s current work and PHD that she is undertaking in relation to surrogacy and how she became passionate about surrogacy reform.

If you are a surrogate and would like to take part in Zaina’s work visit her website here: https://surrogacyreform.com

You can find the Law Commission’s Consultation Paper here: https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/surrogacy/


The Law we discuss and definitions: 

Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985

Human Fertilisation Embryology Act 2008

Parental Responsibility is defined in s 3(1) Children Act 1989 as being:

“all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

Child Arrangements Order

Child Arrangements Orders were introduced in April 2014 by the Children and Families Act 2014 (which amended section 8 Children Act 1989). They replace Contact Orders and Residence Orders.

A Child Arrangements Order means a court order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following:

  1. With whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact; and
  2. When a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.

Traditional or Genetic Surrogacy 

For more information on these types of surrogacy you can visit:


Commercial or Altruistic Surrogacy 

Commerical Surrogacy and Altruistic Surrogacy are compared here:



Cases mentioned: 

Re W [2013] EWHC 3570

Summary available on Family Law Week: https://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed121608


Podcasts about surrogacy:

Surrogacy: a family frontier 

The Birth Hour

Resolve Podcasts 

Hope Works 

The Fertility Podcast 

Creating a Family 

There are many more brilliant ones you can find online either by searching or visiting player fm here.


Contact me if you have any questions:

Email: voicesoffamilylaw@gmail.com

Website: http://www.voicesoffamilylaw.com

Twitter : @voicesoffamlaw

Instagram: @voicesoffamlaw

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