Working at the margins : the views and experiences of court social workers on parental orders work in surrogacy arrangements

Van den Akker, Olga and Crawshaw, Marilyn and Purewal, Satvinder (2012) Working at the margins : the views and experiences of court social workers on parental orders work in surrogacy arrangements. British Journal of Social Work . ISSN 0045-3102 (print) ; 1468-263X (online)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcs045

Abstract

Unlike many contemporary social work tasks, the work of Parental Order Reporters (PORs) in surrogacy cases in England is infrequent and unresearched. This study offers insights into how experienced social workers approach work in little-regulated but ethically complex contexts outside the mainstream. Sixteen PORs took part in telephone interviews about their experiences in providing court reports on over 135 applications. There was little evidence of controversy about surrogacy, but there were variations in approaches to the task, including that of financial scrutiny. Perceptions of risk arising from genetic difference were thought to be low in light of apparently strong parent–child bonding, commitment of commissioning parents, openness with the child about their origins and awareness of longer-term identity and contact needs. Concern about parents' potential to achieve the latter was limited. However, concerns about the impact on surrogates' children and PORs' constraints of entering the process too late were high. Findings suggest a need for regulation of surrogacy agencies and improved child-focused suitability assessments and preparation of surrogates and commissioning parents, including external scrutiny. More reference to courts over financial aspects and increased use of analytic, research-informed approaches by PORs is also indicated.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Inter-Professional Learning
School of Health and Education > Psychology
ID Code:9043
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Deposited On:02 May 2012 13:49
Last Modified:13 May 2014 13:26

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