Commercial surrogacy that would open up parenting options for gay men will not be considered as part of an in-depth review of Australian surrogacy laws commissioned by NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos.
Instead the review will focus on altrustic surrogacy -” unregulated in NSW, but banned in many states.
Hatzistergos said there was potential for national consistency, which would be the subject of a consultation paper prepared by the Ministerial Councils for Community Services and Health and expected to be released in the near future.
Laws in different states and territories are complex and inconsistent, often forcing prospective parents to cross state lines to have children via surrogacy, Hatzistergos said in a statement.
I will now be asking the NSW Legislative Council standing committee on law and justice to conduct a full review and report on the issues and this process will allow stakeholders to contribute their thoughts.
This is an extremely sensitive area, requiring some difficult moral and ethical issues to be resolved.
He said the first and foremost considera-tion should be the interests of the child.
The review will consider whether the intended parents and surrogate mother should have to meet any criteria, whether the surrogate child should have the right to access information about their genetic parentage, as well as the definition of altruistic.
Another important issue that needs to be considered is whether surrogate mothers should receive reimbursement for reason-able expenses from the commissioning parents, such as hospital fees and medical costs, even though commercial surrogacy will not be allowed, Hatzistergos said.
Surrogacy for same-sex couples would one of the most pressing issues for the review, he said.
Gay Dads Australia has an online guide at www.gaydadsaustralia.com for local men seeking commercial surrogacy in the US, including where to find the mother and some of the legal obligations before returning to Australia. It estimates the whole procedure can cost up to $200,000 once medical bills are considered.