Australian Gay Surrogacy Ban Shelved: Why It Had To Fail

Queensland’s Liberal National Party has shelved its plans to ban surrogacy for gay couples and single people, according to the Brisbane Times. The Attorney-General had announced the party’s intention to restrict the practice to married heterosexual couples in the Australian state last June. Like most Australian states and territories, Queensland allows only altruistic surrogate mothers.

But the LNP no longer plans to introduce the restrictions. There is no mention of the party’s plans to address surrogacy in the party’s most recent agenda.

Apparently not everyone in the ruling party had been in favor of or even aware of the plans before the Attorney-General announced them. ‘‘It was a brain snap, some of us could not believe what was happening,’’ a member of the caucus said.

So why the reversal?

Less than a year later, the plans have been shelved. Why?

People worldwide are learning that families come in all forms — and that having caring parents is what’s important, not necessarily having one mom and one dad.

Lower houses in the United Kingdom and France passed marriage equality bills this February that are on their way through the legislative process. In the United States, as the Supreme Court considers whether the federal government can discriminate against married gay couples through the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a recent poll shows that 58% of Americans now believe that it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married.

queensland-surrogacy-ban And children raised by same-sex couples fare just as well as their counterparts raised by opposite-sex couples. A new study from the University of Cambridge showed that “children adopted by gay or lesbian couples are just as likely to thrive as those adopted by heterosexual couples.”

Banning gay couples from pursuing surrogacy is homophobia.

It’s that simple. Where surrogacy is legal for some, it should be legal for all. It’s unfortunate that the Liberal National Party announced its homophobic plans in the first place. But the plans were doomed to fail from the start.

Circle Surrogacy is hosting free surrogacy information sessions on U.S. surrogacy options, April 5-10, 2013 in Melbourne and Sydney.

[Via Brisbane Times]



5 Things Australian Lawmakers Can Learn About Surrogacy From The United States

Australians and Americans share a language, a similar legal tradition with roots in English common law, a federal government system, and many cultural norms.

When it comes to the issue of surrogacy and surrogacy laws, however, we’ve taken vastly different paths.

In both countries, surrogacy is generally a matter left to the states or territories rather than regulated by the federal government. Despite this, a pattern of divergence has evolved between the U.S. states and Australian states and territories.

surrogacy-australia In the United States, compensated (commercial) surrogacy is possible nearly everywhere. In Australia, commercial surrogacy is outlawed nearly everywhere, and several states restrict their residents from pursuing commercial surrogacy abroad.

Neither country has a perfect system, but here are 5 things we think Australian lawmakers can learn about surrogacy from the United States:

1.  Surrogacy is positive, beautiful, and inspiring. Surrogacy has grown tremendously over the years, as more people have spoken about their experiences, IVF has become more common and accessible, and attitudes about gay parenting have shifted. As surrogates and parents have shared their surrogacy stories, Americans have come to appreciate the joy of surrogacy. Greater exposure to surrogacy would allow Australians to share this joy.

2.  Uncompensated surrogacy is rare. Restricting surrogacy to “altruistic” arrangements, as most of Australia does, makes it virtually impossible to become a parent through surrogacy. While responsible surrogacy agencies screen surrogate applicants to ensure they are educated and are interested in surrogacy for the right reasons and not for financial gain, any woman who gives the gift of life to a couples or individual who cannot have family deserves to be rewarded for the time and difficulties of carrying a child.

3.  Surrogacy helps LGBT couples build families. Surrogacy helps gay couples become parents. It advances gay rights and shapes hearts and minds. It teaches people that families come in all forms. And, in countries where adoption can be difficult and subject to bureaucratic and legal hurdles, surrogacy provides a means for them to fulfill their dreams of becoming parents. On a related note, a slew of recent gay parenting studies have revealed that children raised in LGBT households fare just as well as other children.

4.  Intended parents should be able to pursue surrogacy where it is legal. In the United States, the law that holds is the generally the law of the state where the surrogate lives and delivers the baby. This allows intended parents from states with unfavorable surrogacy law, like New York, to pursue surrogacy with surrogates who live elsewhere. This is not the model in much of Australia, where some states have begun restricting their residents from pursuing commercial surrogacy abroad, even if it is legal in the territory where the surrogate lives.

5.  Surrogacy deserves transparency and openness. When parents are unable to speak openly about their experiences with surrogacy for fear of legal trouble, there is a lack of information about what it truly is—a life-changing, positive experience that helps build families for those who need help becoming parents.

Circle Surrogacy is hosting group and private surrogacy information sessions in Australia this April. Our Melbourne surrogacy information sessions will be on April 5 and April 8, 2013. Our Sydney surrogacy information sessions will be on April 10, 2013. To register, click here or on the image above!

photo credit: thewamphyri via photopin cc

Why I Became An Egg Donor: My Egg Donation Story

When I did my first egg donation, I was in my early twenties and my best friends had just found out they could not have children of their own. I offered to donate my eggs to them, but they went a different route. They now have beautiful sibling girls that they adopted. Now with that thought of helping a potential family and seeing firsthand the pain that is felt when they long for a child so much, I decided to move forward with a reputable company to become an egg donor.

I found Circle Egg Donation online and read many reviews before deciding to apply with them. Immediately I was greeted by a knowledgeable staff via phone who answered many questions and concerns. Having a wonderful support system at home (my then fiancé, now husband, and my almost 4-year-old son), I was quickly matched with an amazing couple. I decided that known egg donation was perfect for me. That was a decision that has meant more than I could ever describe.

The first donation moved rather quickly. It seemed to be only a month from signing the contract to getting the procedure completed. They mailed me the medications and I was very serious about following all of the instructions exactly—this is someone’s family we are talking about here. My son was interested in becoming a doctor at the time, so I let him “help” me with the daily shots. He loved the fact that he was involved. I never hid anything from him as this is something I could never be ashamed of anyway.

Becoming an egg donor

When it was time to go to Los Angeles for my retrieval, my little brother flew there with me since my husband needed to be home to care for my child. Circle set up the flight, hotel and rental care for me. It was a 5 day “vacation”, with the retrieval about the 3rd day there. The retrieval was quick with minimal recovery time. It really was not worse than really strong menstrual cramps with light spotting.

The pregnancy took and the amazing couple was blessed with gorgeous twins, a boy and girl. I was lucky enough the meet and hold the babies when they were under a month old. They send me Christmas cards and pictures regularly. I talk with them on social media, and the kids who are now a little older look at my family pictures as well.

Seeing how happy that family is has changed my life. I made a difference. They wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for me donating. If I had decided against a known donation, I would have never known if they had even able to get pregnant. It’s a success story that I have kept very close to my heart.

I decided to donate again for a second time about a year and a half later. After my second donation, my husband and I got pregnant with our first child together. Our son is a ball of energy and the sweetest boy I’ve ever known. His big brother loves him so much too. I had an IUD after delivering my youngest. Once I decided to donate again, I had to get my IUD removed, which I was planning on anyway due to harsh side effects. I also nursed my son until he was 17 months old and I needed to have him completely weaned before I could reapply. After having those tasks completed, I was approved to go back on the donor list.

Now, I was just matched for a third time with another caring, funny, positive and grateful couple. I plan to help as many people in the limited time as allowed. If I just lose my eggs anyway, why not give the gift of life to a family that is willing to go through so much to have a child to love of their own?

It can be tough as an egg donor. Medications, emotions going wild (think PMS), following guidelines set by clinic and contract, taking off from work/school for travel are all things you need to expect. But, the positives far outweigh the negatives for me and my family. Not only have I helped others, but the money from the donation also helped pay for my wedding, honeymoon and things needed for my own children.

Thank you to Circle Egg Donation and all of your staff for allowing me to be a part of something so much bigger than myself.

Landmark Ireland Surrogacy Case: Genetic Mother Named Legal Parent by High Court

An Irish mother is the legal parent of a child she and her husband had with the help of a gestational surrogate, according to Ireland’s High Court. The decision goes against the Irish government’s established position that surrogates are the legal mothers of the children they deliver.

ireland-surrogacy While surrogacy is not illegal in Ireland, the lack of legislation has created an atmosphere of uncertainty on the issue. The Court today recognized the uncertainty of Irish surrogacy and acknowledged that the issue should be addressed at the legislative level.

“To achieve fairness and constitutional and natural justice for both the paternal and maternal genetic parents, the feasible inquiry in relation to maternity ought to be made on a genetic basis and on being proven, the genetic mother should be registered as the mother,” the judge said.

In other words, if an intended mother uses her own eggs in a surrogacy arrangement, she should be treated as the child’s true legal mother. The Court did not address what would happen in the event the intended parents used eggs from an egg donor.

In the case before the High Court, a husband and wife had created embryos through in vitro fertilization using their own sperm and egg. The wife’s sister agreed to act as their gestational surrogate and gave birth to twins. When the mother requested to be named on her children’s birth certificates, the national registry office refused.

That refusal eventually brought the case to the High Court, where today’s ruling overrules the policy. The government may well appeal the decision, which could bring the issue to the Supreme Court, Ireland’s highest court.

While Irish couples and individuals have turned to the United States for years to pursue surrogacy because of the favorable laws, the ruling may simplify the process of securing parental rights for intended mothers.

We applaud the High Court’s decision today, which comes two weeks before Circle Surrogacy’s upcoming trip to Ireland, on March 18-19th. Our group meeting and consultations offer intended parents the chance to learn more about surrogacy in the United States. To learn more about how the recent decision could affect you, register to attend the informational group meeting or request a consultation by clicking below.

[Story via Irish Times]

photo credit: AlmazUK via photopin cc