Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sydney Morning Herald - "National surrogacy scheme moves forward" by AAP

A move to harmonise state and commonwealth surrogate parenting laws is a step closer with the release of a national proposal for public consultation.

The national Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) and the ministerial councils for Community Services and Health released a paper on Sunday calling for submissions on national surrogacy regulation.

The paper, A proposal for a National Model to Harmonise Regulation of Surrogacy, makes a number of recommendations that would aid hetero and same-sex couples.

People who use a surrogate mother would be able to apply for legal recognition as the child's parents and the differing state laws that affect same-sex surrogacy would be addressed.

Other regulations under review would include paying a surrogate mother's medical costs, financial losses during and other expenses during pregnancy.

But commercial surrogacy would remain illegal in Australia, the paper recommends.

Other topics proposed include counselling and legal advice for all parties involved and if advertising would be allowed by couples, surrogate mothers and clinics involved in surrogacy.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the laws should makes it easier for surrogacy couples.

"The differing laws on this complex and sensitive issue often force prospective parents to enter another Australian state or territory to have surrogate children," Mr McClelland said in a statement.

States and territories launched their own reviews last year with the intent of moving to a national regime.

NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said couples with surrogate children had faced challenges with accomplishing a number of basic processes related to a child's upbringing.

"Laws in some jurisdictions make it difficult for parents to obtain a passport or a school enrolment for children born through surrogacy," Mr Hatzistergos said in a statement.

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell supports a national regime but said the best home environment for children is with a mother and a father.

"I think all those issues need to be the subject of the inquiry (and) need to be the subject of community debate," M O'Farrell told reporters in Sydney.

"But my view remains that children are best brought up in heterosexual households.

People interested in reviewing the paper can visit www.scag.org.au and click on "Current consultations".

Information about how to make a submission is contained on page two of the document.

The deadline to make a submission is April 16.

A copy of the Paper (A PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL MODEL TO HARMONISE REGULATION OF SURROGACY - January 2009) can be found here.

[Link: Original Article]

No comments: