Former head of the family court Sir James Munby has said that surrogate mothers could be paid for having babies.
Surrogacy is legal in the UK, but women are not permitted to advertise themselves as surrogates, or profit from the service.
Sir James has called for lawmakers to lift the ban on paying surrogate mothers.
The retired judge claimed that commercial surrogacy already exists in the UK, but payments are frequently “dressed up as expenses”.
He said: “It’s probably better to face up to reality and move to a proper system of regulation rather than prohibition”.
‘Reasonable expenses’ for surrogacy are typically considered between £12,000 and £18,000.
Changed family life
Sir James said that society has changed and that lawmakers need to accommodate these new ideas.
In July, Sir James retired from his post as the most senior family court judge in England and Wales.
During 20 years at the High Court, Sir James said he has seen “an incredible change” in family life, highlighting one case where a woman identifying as a man wanted to be legally registered as her child’s father.
“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.”
“Every concept of what a family is, every concept of what a parent-child relationship is, is very much back in the melting pot”, he added.