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Comparative Study on the Regime of Surrogacy in the EU Member States

Conducted on behalf of: European Parliament

Commenced: October 2012

Project context

Every year, more and more children are born to surrogate mothers. Surrogacy is intrinsically related to important legal issues, such as the legal parentage of a child and his/her citizenship. But due to the legal vacuum that exists in relation to various issues associated with surrogacy, and due to significant differences in the legal systems of Member States, those who are involved in surrogacy are confronted with various problems. The most pressing problems can be that children born via surrogacy do not have legal parents, are stateless, are not enrolled in the register of births in the country of their residence, or that they have different citizenship than their legal parent(s).

Across the EU, national legislation relating to surrogacy varies significantly. Some Member States expressly permit it, while some explicitly prohibit it, and some do not have any specific legislation governing surrogacy. Even in countries where there are no mechanisms to facilitate surrogacy, there will still be cases of parents who have brought their children across borders and who now live in those countries. With these issues in mind, many academics have conducted long-term discussions about establishing uniform rules for governing the legal aspects of surrogacy.

Objectives of the project

The aim of the study is to tackle only those legal aspects of surrogacy. It shall analyse each Member State’s approach to the issue, in order to examine the specific problems which arise from the legal vacuum around surrogacy. The study will examine how each judiciary responds in practice to these problems, and assess whether the EU should adopt uniform rules in this field. 

Research team

Professor Emily Jackson is Head of the LSE Law Department. 

Dr Laurence Brunet is a Reader in Private Law at the Université Paris I.

Dr Julie McCandless is a Lecturer in Family and Medical Law at LSE.

Dr Konstantina Davaki is a Research Officer in social policy at LSE Health.

Dr Claire Marzo is a Visiting British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at LSE.