Australian sex offenders are going overseas in search of surrogate babies in worrying numbers, says a leading surrogacy lawyer who believes urgent law reform is needed.
The Age revealed on Friday that one man, who cannot be named, had a decades-long history of accessing child porn and had been abusing his young nieces before he became the surrogate father of twins.
He applied with his wife to become surrogate parents and used his sperm, a donor egg from the Ukraine and a surrogate from the Asian clinic to conceive the twins.
Stephen Page, a Brisbane-based family lawyer specialising in surrogacy, told Fairfax he felt ill when he read the story and says the case highlighted a wider problem with child surrogacy arrangements.
According to the Department of Border Protection, babies born through surrogacy last year made up about 1.4 per cent of Australia’s “total citizenship by descent caseload” of 17,357.
But Mr Page said he believed the true figure may be far higher, and many parents returning to Australia may simply not tell authorities their new baby had been carried by a surrogate.
While regulations protect the interests of parents, surrogates, donors and children in Australia, local bans on paying women to carry babies for would-be parents mean many are flocking to developing nations where commercial surrogacy is legal.
By Nino Bucci and Bianca Hall
Read more: the ageBack to News
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