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Consent for babies born following surrogate pregnancies
  1. Heather Sharon Hodgson1,
  2. Abigail Nye1,
  3. Fiona Finlay2
  1. 1Paediatrics, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Bath, Avon, UK
  2. 2Community Paediatrics, Virgin Care Ltd, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Abigail Nye, Paediatrics, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Bath BA1 3NG, Avon, UK; abigail.l.s.nye{at}gmail.com

Abstract

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.

  • surrogacy
  • consent
  • parental responsibility
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Footnotes

  • Twitter @sharoncumming87

  • Contributors HSH and AN jointly devised the survey, analysed the data and wrote the paper. FF was supervisor and proofread the survey and the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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