Sydney, 9th October, 2014
Reading the newspapers this morning, I feel concerned and perturbed with some issues around surrogacy.
Only recently, we were told that baby Gammy was abandoned by an Australian couple in Thailand, because he has Down’s syndrome. His twin sister, who was healthy, was brought to Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2014/s4089822.htm
In the currently reported case, which has been investigated by ABC, and reported extensively, an agency arranged a surrogate mother in India, who gave birth to twins in 2012. Australian family took only one child, based on the gender, but did not bring the other child to Australia.
They did this, despite efforts from Australian High Commission in India, which tried to persuade the couple to bring both children to Australia. They even delayed issuing visa to encourage the couple to change their minds. It has been reported that an Australian politician pressured Australian High Commission to help this couple. Former Australian Foreign Affairs ministers, Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd, have denied that they were involved in pressuring Australian Consular officials.
Who is this politician then? I think Australians deserve to know his/her name.
http://www.surrogacyaustralia.org/about-us/general-info-on-overseas-surrogacy link provides how surrogacy operates, and is conducted.
I have no doubt that surrogacy plays a very important role in helping childless parents.
Family Court Chief Justice, Diana Bryant, has been quoted that the abandoned child was passed on to another family and money possibly changed hands to facilitate this. She thought this amounted to “child trafficking”.
Federal Circuit Court Chief Judge, John Pascoe, has asked for a national inquiry into surrogacy.
I am unable to understand how parents abandon children born out of surrogacy arrangements. These children are their own.
I am also concerned about gender or the health of the child being used as a factor in this decision. The question is who is responsible for the abandoned child. The answer to this is that it can not be the surrogate mother unless she makes an informed decision to agree to it by keeping the baby with her. Commissioning parents must be the ones who should be responsible for looking after the kid (s) born out of surrogacy arrangements.
It is not only a moral issue, but it clearly is a legal issue too.
A national inquiry is indeed needed to fine-tune and streamline surrogacy in Australia.
Dr Yadu Singh