Samantha Selinger-Morris | The Sydney Morning Herald | November 10, 2022
In Australia, ethical concerns with commercial surrogacy resulted in a ban on the practice; only altruistic surrogacy is legal. Couples often venture abroad in the hopes of finding a surrogate in countries where payment is legal.
With a legislative prohibition on compensated surrogacy, many Australian couples look abroad for surrogates, sometimes pursuing dangerous or illegal arrangements. Do these precarious agreements leave surrogates vulnerable to exploitation?
Australia’s Northern Territory passed the Surrogacy Bill 2022, which regulates domestic surrogacy for the first time and outlaws commercial surrogacy. The Bill establishes frameworks for intended parents, prioritizes children’s rights, and protects surrogates’ autonomy.
A new dad became the first single man in Victoria to father a biological child through surrogacy. In Australia, strict surrogacy regulations ban paid surrogacy and require extensive counseling and screening for the biological parent.
Australian Associated Press | The Guardian | July 27, 2021
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation covered a story about a couple’s surrogacy arrangement in a 2019 article about Ukraine’s commercial surrogacy industry. The couple sued ABC for allegedly portraying them as heartless parents who abandoned their surrogate-born, disabled child Bridget in Ukraine. This June, the couple withdrew their defamation case due to a lack of funds, but will still be asked to pay ABC’s legal costs.
Caitlin Fitzsimmons | The Sydney Morning Herald | June 13, 2021
A surrogacy education charity is helping Australian citizens obtain COVID travel exemptions from the government to go abroad for IVF treatment or surrogacy arrangements not available under federal or state law. All but one state in Australia forbid commercial surrogacy and all require egg donation be altruistic, so eggs are not available and intended parents are traveling outside the country for fertility treatments. Proponents of the Australian surrogacy legislation express shock that such a charity would help citizens circumvent a law meant to protect women from the exploitative nature of commercial surrogacy.
This is the fifth installment of an ongoing series called “Global Child Rights, and Wrongs,” focussing on global child rights within the field of reproductive technologies.
While these are often discussed in terms of the rights of adults to have children, there is very little discussion from the perspective of the child born of such technologies.
Dr. Lynch, an Australian lawyer and adoptee rights activist, addresses this gap with an essay on the ethics of surrogacy and an argument to ban all forms of the practice.
Here is an excerpt:
As an adoptee, I was removed at birth from my gestational mother, her breasts bound for three days in another room while I screamed for her, and my hospital records record my growing distress. Adoptees around the world testify to their battles with depression and rage, difficulties in trusting and attachment, and a profound sense of loss and grief caused by the loss of their mothers at birth. Scientific studies prove that maternal-neonate separation in the crucial months after birth disturbs the baby’s heart rate and sleep and other biological systems, predisposing the child to difficulties later in life which can include relationship and emotional difficulties, mental disorders and illnesses. In taking a child-centered view of surrogacy, we must take into account what we know of the trauma and confusion of separation from the natural family, especially from the birth mother, experienced by adoptees.
In this update from Cambodia, a number of Australian intended parents are now being allowed to leave the country with their children. To do so, they must prove a biological link to a child and obtain a gestational mother’s approval.
The article also outlines the case against Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles, who is currently in jail in Cambodia for facilitating surrogacy arrangements and charging Australian intended parents $US 50,000 per child. If sentenced, Davis-Charles could spend up to two years in prison.
The Legal and Ethical Complexities of Sperm and Egg Donation
By Nightlife | March 27, 2017
Listen to medical research scientist, Damian Adams and Associate Professor in Health Law, Dr. Sonia Allen discuss challenges around sperm and egg donation, including issues related to the rights of parents, donors, and children.
Dr. Sonia Allen consults with the South Australian government on ARTs, sperm and egg donation. A report on her review of the South Australian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 is available to read.
Update: In November 2017, the South Australian government tabled their response to the review conducted by Dr. Allan from 2015-2017. The Hon. Peter Malinauskas, Minister for Health, thanked Dr. Allan, stating the government had commissioned her due to her international expertise in the field. He then committed the government to establishing a donor-conception register, making the rights of donor-conceived people “a main priority for South Australia” and committing to implementing changes that “best reflect Dr. Allan’s recommendations.” Victoria enacted Dr. Allan’s model for access to information by donor-conceived people into law in March 2017 – the first of its kind in the world – and now South Australia has made the commitment to follow.