Last week, an Australian Senate Committee submitted its conclusions on surrogacy. It supports “altruistic maternal substitution”, arguing that this may be a solution nowadays for sterile couples. It is nevertheless calling for harmonisation of the legislation in the various Australian states on this issue, and an international treaty. However, senators have said that they are “powerless” to stop commercial surrogacy tourism. They can “only warn of the dangers of such arrangements and of the risk of violating the human rights of the women involved”.
This report does not, however, comment on the birth certificates of children born through surrogacy. Who should be named in these certificates: biological parents, surrogate mother, intended parents? The report is also evasive in terms of “the reimbursement of costs incurred by altruistic surrogate mothers,” referring only to “appropriate reimbursement”.
Everyone, those for and against surrogacy, agree on the fundamental principle of ensuring the “superior interest of the child” but view this from different perspectives. Those in favour believe that the superior interest of the child and surrogacy are compatible whereas those against believe that “maternal substitution, regardless of form, can never be in the child’s superior interest because it creates confusion about identity and is incompatible with the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child”.
Gènéthique note: The hidden agenda of the “ethical” surrogacy