Tasmania looks set to change its surrogacy laws, with the Bartlett Government introducing legislation that would allow altruistic surrogacy for heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The Apple Isle is one of the last states in Australia where it is illegal for a couple to enter into an arrangement for a surrogate birth.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said the move to legally recognise altruistic surrogacy arrangements for heterosexual and same-sex couples was an important step forward.

“A woman who chooses to give the gift of parenthood to a gay friend or relative should have that choice legally recognised and respected,” Croome said.

“It is in the best interests of all children born through altruistic surrogacy, including those raised by same-sex couples, to have the legal security and protection that the Government’s proposed legislation will allow.”

Current Tasmanian surrogacy laws have been described as murky, but it is illegal to draw up surrogacy arrangements, advertise for a surrogate, or access assisted reproductive technology for the purpose of surrogacy.

The changes follow a recent state parliamentary inquiry. The new law would bring Tasmania in line with other Australian states.

The surrogacy bill is set to be voted on next year and the Bartlett Government is accepting public submissions on the legislation until February 2011.

South Australia currently only allows altruistic surrogacy arrangements for heterosexual couples.

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