Blow To Surrogacy Hopes

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George Christensen Strikes Again

For every Daniel Andrews, the Victorian Premier who spoke so eloquently yesterday about the wrongs perpetrated on the gay community, there is a George Christensen.

Christensen, who led the charge against the Safe Schools program, smearing and slurring as he went, until Turnbull backed down in the face of his intransigence. Christensen, who said

“I don’t want to see sexual liberation of young people, I don’t want to see young people sexualised at all,”

Christensen, the chair of the Federal Parliamentary inquiry into commercial surrogacy, which has brought down a report recommending that commercial surrogacy here and abroad continue to be illegal. And even altruistic surrogacy be made much harder.

Stephen Page, a leading surrogacy lawyer, reported Monday:

The Federal Parliamentary inquiry has concluded that commercial surrogacy in Australia continue to be banned, that there be national, non-discriminatory surrogacy laws, and that it be harder for Australians to undertake surrogacy in developing countries…  by Australian intended parents having to prove to Australian officials that they have not broken the law in Australia or overseas before they can bring their children into Australia. Whether this will lead to children being stranded overseas remains to be seen.

The report recommends a further inquiry, this time by the Australian Law Reform Commission, into the development of a comprehensive frame work for altruistic surrogacy.

This enquiry should consider first and foremost, the best interests of the child.

It should also consider establishing a system of mandatory, independent and in-person counselling for all parties, background checks, medical and psychological screening, and independent legal advice for all parties entering into a surrogacy arrangement.

The report also suggests that surrogacy agreements should be non-binding, to ensure “that parties respect the birth mother’s right to make decisions about her own health and that of the child.”

And would like birth certificates to record the details of not only the custodial parents, but also the surrogate mother, and egg and/or sperm donors: everyone who contributes to the genetic makeup of the child.

A lot now rides on who wins the current election, and whether the extreme right wing Christians, of whom George is one, remain in the ascendant in the LNP. For would-be G.A.Y.* parents, life looks like it’s going to get harder.

G.A.Y.* = Good As You, the acronym formerly known as LGBTI2QQAA+

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years.

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)