Lift ban on payments for surrogates says Sir James Munby

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A ban on paying surrogate mothers should be lifted, the former head of the family court, has said.Sir James Munby said that society had changed and that lawmakers should adapt accordingly.Although surrogacy is not illegal in the UK, women are banned from advertising themselves as surrogates or receiving payment other than to cover “reasonable expenses,” which are typically between £12,000 and £18,000.Sir James, 70, the most senior family judge in England and Wales until his retirement in July, told the Mail on Sunday: “How is a judge supposed to assess whether the £10,000 paid, for example, is a genuine expense?“By and large even in the cases the court says it’s not a proper expense, the judge waves it through because otherwise what do you do? ‘It’s probably better to face up to reality and move to a proper system of regulation rather than prohibition.”Sir James also defended the right of women in their 50s and 60s to have children, saying that “today’s 60 is like yesterday’s 40” and that life expectancy had changed.“Modern 60-year-old grannies don’t look like grannies did 50 years ago,” he said.“’There is the question of whether it is right and fair to be mothering a child if you’re unlikely to live until it’s an adult. “But the expectation of life for women is 85 give or take. Well if it’s 85 you will comfortably live to see your child become an adult if you have an artificial baby at 60.”Sir James highlighted a landmark case in which a transgender man wanted to be legally registered as their child’s father, noting that concepts of family were changing.“If someone would have said ten years ago that, in a decade’s time, there’s going to be a case in the family division on whether you can have a father without having a mother, people would have thought you were bonkers,” he said.“’Society is moving on and the challenge for lawmakers is what steps, if any, we take to accommodate those changes into our legal framework.” read more