Promising news out of Australia for both straight and gay parents using either a domestic or international surrogate:
Why is my family not recognised? When it comes to children, this question is often confused within social rhetoric around what constitutes the ideal family.
This is evident in a policy context that struggles with recognising children conceived outside the norm of matrimonial heterosexual reproduction.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee is attempting to grapple with this issue in its current inquiry into donor conception in Australia.
While the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) did not participate directly in this inquiry, we are working with the NSW Government to ensure the legal recognition of parents who conceive through surrogacy arrangements.
Legislation regulating surrogacy was first introduced in NSW in 2007 with the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act. While permitting altruistic surrogacy, the legislation lacked any mechanism to transfer parentage from a consenting birth mother to the intending parent(s).
However, the NSW Government has committed to introducing legislation later this year, which will include a transfer of parentage scheme. Such a scheme will ensure that children born through surrogacy arrangements and living in same-sex families will have security around their care and welfare with the legal recognition of their parent(s).
While altruistic surrogacy is allowed, commercial surrogacy is prohibited. The GLRL has been working with the NSW Government to ensure that ‘reasonable expenses’ that can be paid to the birth mother is adequately defined so individuals and couples can avoid entering into a commercial agreement, which is a criminal offence.
The GLRL has further recommended to the NSW Government that any legislation regulating surrogacy arrangements should include a mechanism to allow children born through overseas surrogacy arrangements, including commercial arrangements, to be recognised in NSW.