The Australian government’s review of surrogacy laws – commissioned after a spate of surrogacy ‘horror stories’ in developing countries – is failing both surrogates and couples by continuing to criminalize domestic commercial surrogacy, according to several gay dads and advocacy groups in Australia.
The parliamentary review was commissioned after several high-profile horror stories involving Australians who had sought out surrogates in developing countries. Most infamously, in 2014 Australian husband and wife David Farnell and Wendy Li hit headlines for allegedly abandoning a twin baby born from surrogacy in Thailand because it had Down syndrome.
Robert Reith, of advocacy group Surrogacy Australia, said in an interview that international surrogacy ‘horror stories’ were not common. But, he added: ‘Each of those cases would not have occurred if Australia had our own framework, even to the extent of being able to advertize for a surrogate, which is currently illegal in Australia. We certainly need a nationwide compensated surrogacy framework, but we fear this could be years off. We want parents, surrogates and of course any resulting children to have the best start to life, which means a regulated framework that properly acknowledges and protects the incredible process that is surrogacy’.’