These days, there are a variety of options for couples wishing to pursue parenthood if having children “the natural way” isn’t an option. An increasingly popular method is the use of a surrogate, in which a woman who is a third party to the couple is implanted with a fertilised egg and sperm and carries the baby to term.
Commercial surrogacy, in which a woman is paid to carry a child for a couple, is illegal in Australia. However, hundreds of Australian couples travel overseas to clinics in countries like India and Thailand to achieve parenthood. It can’t be denied that this allows many couples to realise a dearly-held dream which may otherwise have been out of their reach; however, there are a host of potential legal problems contained within this process.
The most famous local case is of course that of “Gammy,” in which an Australian couple left behind one of a pair of twins born to a local surrogate because he was born with Down Syndrome. This has resulted in lasting changes to the surrounding legal system in Thailand, with parents now being required to show a birth certificate and surrogacy contract before they are allowed to leave the country with their child.
There are also calls for court-sanctioned parental orders and better international legal frameworks to prevent such children from ending up “stateless and parentless”. This sad state of affairs can arise from the simple fact of parents failing to legally register their surrogate-born children. This means that the surrogate mother remains the child’s legal parent, a situation that can lead to whole host of problems in the future, ranging from complications with inheritance from “true” parents through to issues over nationality.
If you are considering pursuing parenthood through surrogacy but want to be certain of all possible legal issues first, make sure you get thorough advice from a fully qualified professional such as Glenn Duker, lawyer and solicitor.
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