Monday, January 19, 2009

The Sunday Mail - "Suggorate mums could be paid $10,000 cash under radical changes to laws" by Linda Silmalis and Kay Dibben

MOTHERS could be paid up to $10,000 to give birth to another woman's child under radical changes to controversial surrogacy laws.

Commercial surrogacy is illegal but state governments will consider allowing women to be reimbursed by parents for the medical costs, and up to two months' loss of earnings.

The man behind the proposal, NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos, said existing laws made it difficult for parents to get a passport for surrogate children, or to enrol them in school, The Sunday Mail reports.

"If the national model is adopted, courts could grant a parentage order to a couple if it was in the best interests of the child, and the surrogate mother had given her informed consent," he said.

A discussion paper, prepared by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, will be released today in a bid to introduce a uniform law.

It questions whether a same-sex couple could become the legal parents of a child, and whether surrogate mothers must be over 25 years of age and have previously given birth.

It also will consider whether intending parents must have a criminal background check.

Other potential changes include having the names of the intended parents on a second birth certificate.

The original birth certificate would still exist, and the child would be entitled to both records at a certain age.

Courts would be given the final say on whether a couple should be granted the legal right to be a child's parents.

In Queensland, altruistic surrogacy – where a woman bears a child for a couple without receiving payment – could be decriminalised this year.

A parliamentary committee in October recommended that surrogacy not involving payments or gifts be made legal.

If the State Government adopts its recommendations, an independent surrogacy review panel, including medical and legal experts, will be appointed to approve applications.

Committee chairwoman Linda Lavarch said couples were being driven overseas and families were being turned into criminals under the existing law.

[Link: Original Article]

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