May 28, 2024


Adoption law should be liberalised to allow single people and gay couples to engage surrogate mothers, says a major report in the Australian state of Victoria. This is part of a major overhaul of laws on reproductive technology proposed by the Victorian Law Reform Commission. If passed by the state legislature, it will probably influence other states as well.

The Law Reform Commission frowns on payment for surrogacy arrangements and says that only payment for medical expenses should be allowed — not compensation for loss of earnings. “It would be unacceptable for the surrogate to obtain any material advantage as a result of carrying and giving birth to the child.,” it argues.

It has also adopted a “cautious” position on parentage. “The law should not compel the surrogate to hand over the baby to the commissioning couple if she decides that she cannot bring herself to do so,” it says. The commissioning couple need to be “fit and proper” people to adopt the child. It also recommends that the name of the surrogate mother should be listed on a government register so that children will be able to find out who gave birth to them.