With adoption waiting periods averaging 7 years or more and domestic surrogacy options being extremely limited, international commercial surrogacy arrangements are one of a few options available to gay dads to start a family.
Following the Surrogacy Law reforms in India, Thailand experienced a significant increase in the number of gay dads entering into commercial surrogacy arrangements in their country. However following the public outcry caused by the controversy surrounding baby Gammy, the Thai baby born through a surrogacy arrangement and allegedly abandoned post birth, the Thai Military government announced a crackdown on the Thai Surrogacy industry, including but not limited to precluding gay parents from engaging in commercial surrogacy.
As at 18 September 2014 the current advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) states:
“The legal situation regarding surrogacy arrangements in Thailand is currently unclear. There is presently no legislation in Thailand which specifically regulates surrogacy. The Thai authorities are considering draft legislation that may prohibit commercial surrogacy. The Australian Government is encouraging Thai authorities to adopt transitional arrangements for any new measures they may introduce so that concerned Australians are not unduly affected.
Current advice is that Thai authorities are enforcing documentation requirements upon exit of the country when they suspect a child has been born by surrogacy in Thailand. Australians with existing agreements who may be affected by these arrangements should call the Consular Section at the Australian Embassy in Bangkok for latest information”
“We strongly recommend that Australians visiting Thailand for the purposes of commercial surrogacy arrangements seek independent legal advice before doing so. In particular, legal advice should be sought on the implications of any new exit requirements.”
So what options do gay dads have now?
The United States of America have some fantastic clinics that adopt a holistic approach to the process that ensures the care of the surrogate mother, the intended parents and most importantly the future child. Although these clinics are more expensive than some of their competitors in India and Thailand, they deliver an exceptionally high level of care, safety and support throughout the process.
Furthermore, some states in the United States allow the option of having both intended fathers named on the child’s birth certificate.
Each intended parent’s journey is different. Until surrogacy is better regulated in Australia, unfortunately there are limited options available to gay dads to begin a family. However, there are still options available to prospective gay dads but as DFAT suggests it is incredibly important for prospective gay dads to seek independent legal advice from a Family Lawyer prior to embarking on such a course.