India raises marriage barrier to gay surrogacy
Changes to India's surrogacy laws making it mandatory for people seeking surrogate mothers to be married have prompted surrogacy advocates back home to call for changes to allow commercial surrogacy in Australia.
The Indian Government has decreed that only couples who have been married for more than two years can enter into commercial surrogacy arrangements, and only if it is legal in their home country.
Currently, in Queensland single would-be parents and gay couples seeking a surrogate mother in India do so against state law.
However, Commonwealth legislation turns a blind eye to the sexuality and marital status of those seeking commercial surrogacy overseas with Indian women, which means gay men who can prove parentage can bring children back into Australia.
Queensland lawyer Stephen Page told ABC Radio's AM program the only place where commercial surrogacy is permitted in Australia is the Northern Territory.
“So unless you're in a heterosexual, married relationship for two years and you're living in the Northern Territory, you can forget about going to India,” Page said.
Surrogacy Australia’s Sam Everingham said the conflict between state and federal law was “a legal headache” and called for commercial surrogacy to be legalised back home.
“It's become a legal headache for many courts in Australia dealing with the unintended consequences of surrogacy,” Everingham said.
“And I think you know if we had arrangements in Australia where commercial arrangements were possible, it would make it much easier for the kids that are born, as well as the parents.
“So I think we need to look really closely at that as a wider community. I mean, despite the laws we've had against surrogacy, a lot of families go overseas and ignore those laws.
"So I think it will be a much better outcome if we could get those sorts of arrangements and much better access to surrogates in Australia.”