Infertile Australian couples hoping to have a baby have already struggled with the illegality of commercial surrogacy in their country, but now they must deal with even more complications.
India, the country where heterosexual and gay Australians have flocked to find a surrogate, will now exclude “singles and gay and de facto heterosexual couples from commissioning surrogate babies.”
To make matters worse:
Australians now require medical visas and the Indian government is precise about who they will issue them to – heterosexual couples who have been married for at least two years.
This type of regulation not only seems unnecessary, but is clearly discriminatory. It shames me to think that some countries are so far behind when it comes to accepting the “non-traditional” family.
What will become of the parents whose babies were born after the laws changed? Will they be prosecuted? Will their baby or babies be allowed to leave India? This has caused quite a dilemma.
Surrogacy law expert Professor Jenni Millbank says babies could be left stateless if the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) refuses to issue citizenship to infants created in breach of Indian law.
“I think if this provokes a crisis within DIAC about the issuing of citizenship by descent,” she said.
“If they refused to grant citizenship by descent then we would be facing the prospect of children born in India to Australian parents being stateless, with no Indian citizenship, with no Australian citizenship and without the ability to travel across any international border.”
In the words of expectant parent Paul Taylor-Burn and his partner Josh:
“We know that we don’t meet the new criteria. We know our contracts have been signed after the cut-off date, but we don’t really know what’s going to happen,” Mr Taylor-Burn said.
“I think the biggest worry is really: what’s going to happen when we get there? Are the babies going to actually get their visas to exit the country? What can happen? Is there any possibility of the babies not being able to leave? Are we potentially going to be prosecuted?”
Here’s to hoping the best for these families. If only we could do more.