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Legally recognising intention : parenthood in surrogacy and assisted conception

Horsey, Kirsty (2003) Legally recognising intention : parenthood in surrogacy and assisted conception. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94427) (KAR id:94427)


Since its emergence in the late 1970s, surrogacy has been both socially and legally problematic. However, it can be argued that there has been an evolution of opinion regarding the practice of surrogacy, on both a cultural and a professional level. Many of the problems predicted by academic and other commentators have not occurred or, if they have, they are not widespread: surrogacy is not, on a general level, exploitative; neither does it commodify children or the reproductive process. It does, however, provide a reproductive option of last resort for some people or couples experiencing infertility or involuntary childlessness. As such, and because no danger is presented purely by allowing the practice of surrogacy to continue, it must be facilitated and legitimated as a reproductive option. Furthermore, because it is used as a method of founding a family, those who play the familial roles should be recognised, in order to make the social reality of motherhood and fatherhood a legal reality. Current regulation allows but discourages the operation of surrogacy. This thesis questions whether this should be the case and, in concluding that it should not, suggests ways in which surrogacy could be regulated in the future. The essence of these recommendations is that the intending parents in a surrogacy arrangement should be legally recognised as the parents of the child born to the surrogate. This thesis will argue that this recognition should be based on the concept of intention and supported by the enforcement of surrogacy arrangements as contracts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94427
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 12 May 2023 15:30 UTC
Last Modified: 12 May 2023 15:30 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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