Consent for babies born following surrogate pregnancies
Heather Sharon Hodgson, Abigail Nye, Fiona Finlay
Diseases in Childhood, 14 January 2020
Surrogate pregnancies are becoming more common, but the law governing who can give consent following surrogate births is complex. Parental responsibility (PR) may be held by a variety of individuals, depending on the specific circumstances.
We conducted a survey of paediatric medical staff within Health Education South West to establish knowledge regarding consent for a baby before a parental or adoption order is obtained. Our results showed that 19% of the 47 respondents answered all scenarios correctly. 43% of respondents knew that the surrogate mother had PR in all scenarios; however, 13% incorrectly assumed that either intended parent always had PR. Knowledge of other individuals who could provide consent in the scenarios was variable.
Our survey revealed poor understanding regarding medicolegal aspects of consent in these complex situations, emphasising the need for more specific published guidance for primary and secondary healthcare professionals encountering these babies in the early postnatal period.