Surrogacy advocates have welcomed the news that two Sydney men have become the first same-sex couple in New South Wales to be the legally recognised parents of a child conceived through surrogacy.
The Daily Telegraph reported a Supreme Court judge last month ruled it would be “in the best interests” of the child, who was born in 2010, for the couple to be declared the parents.
Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton said he was “satisfied” the two men and the surrogate mother had entered into an altruistic agreement and the woman had not been paid.
When handing down the judgement, Brereton said they were the first same-sex couple he was aware of to apply for guardianship under the Surrogacy Act.
“I am satisfied that, having regard to the surrogacy arrangement, and the care arrangements for the child since birth, the making of the parentage order would be in the best interests of the child,” Brereton told the court.
The child’s birth mother will no longer be listed on the birth certificate after she agreed to have her name removed.
The NSW Surrogacy Act, which came into effect last year, prohibits any commercial surrogacy arrangements made locally or internationally with penalties of two years jail or a $110,000 fine.
Gay Dads Australia spokesman Rodney Chiang-Cruise told the Star Observer it was wonderful news and congratulated the unnamed couple.
He said the ruling was more than just having two names on the birth certificate.
“It’s a recognition in law in NSW, and in Australia, that they are the legal parents of the child, they’re not considered donors,” he said.
Chiang-Cruise said there were several similar cases underway in Australia.
“They are the first to be granted a parentage order in NSW but they won’t be the last either,” he said.
Surrogacy Australia president Sam Everingham said it was an important ruling and showed the new laws were working.
“It’s showing the social change out there and the acceptance that gay families can be just as good,” he said.
But Everingham said there were still flaws in the system.
“The trouble is most gay couples aren’t lucky enough to find a surrogate in Australia, so they can’t access these kind of benefits,” he said.
“Most couples who go down this route, who are gay guys, end up going overseas because they can’t find someone at home.”