Regulation of international surrogacy arrangements

This project aimed to explore possible types of international regulation of surrogacy arrangements, and to prepare a draft international convention on aspects of surrogacy arrangements. It was carried out in co-operation with the Hague Conference on Private International Law

The findings from the project are published in International Surrogacy Arrangements (Hart Publishing). The researchers present their findings in three parts:

  • National Reports on domestic approaches to surrogacy from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.
  • International perspectives on cross-border surrogacy such as the 'human rights' perspective.
  • An analysis of the National Reports appearing in Part 1, together with a proposed model of regulation of international surrogacy arrangements at the international level.

In the past two decades, developments and research in the area of fertility treatment have progressed rapidly. This has resulted in various treatment options becoming available to infertile couples. One of them is the use of a surrogate mother where the female partner of a couple is unable to carry a child. An increasing number of childless Western couples travel to places like India, Eastern Europe and South America with the intention of hiring a surrogate mother.

These arrangements are completely unregulated, which has led to concern that surrogate mothers lack adequate legal protection. There is also a risk of a developing a "black market" in surrogacy that exploits women's emotional or financial needs.

Project details



Paul Beaumont and Katarina Trimmings, School of Law, University of Aberdeen

Funding programme:

Children and Families

Grant amount and duration:


September 2010 - August 2012