Clear stance on all forms of surrogacy needed

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) should take a clear stance against all forms of surrogacy in its review of the relevant policies and legislation on adoption and surrogacy (Gay man allowed to adopt surrogate son on appeal; and MSF to consider if policies, laws need to be reviewed; both Dec 18).

The High Court had observed that, from 2008 to this year, MSF oversaw 14 applications for adoption which involved the use of surrogacy.

Ten cases involved married couples applying jointly to adopt and were supported by the Guardian-in-Adoption.

The remaining four were, at the time of the hearing, pending investigation.

The Guardian recorded the payments that were made and what they were made for.

The court found that it was "unclear from the evidence whether there is a settled public policy against surrogacy at present and, even if there is, what that policy would be".

It added that "there is a case for some urgency" in determining the law and policy on surrogacy.

All forms of surrogacy commodify children, deconstruct motherhood and sever the bond between mother and child by treating the woman as an incubator.

Commercial surrogacy is also a form of human trafficking, involving the buying and selling of children.

As District Judge Shobha Nair pointed out in her judgment in the Family Court on March 8 this year, this is at odds with the principles of the Adoption Act, which prohibits the giving or receiving of any payment or reward in consideration of adoption.

Surrogacy contradicts the raison d'etre of adoption, which is to help children find the family they need, not help adults get the children they want.

Regardless of whether the surrogacy arrangement is procured by opposite-sex or same-sex couples, married or unmarried, single or otherwise, MSF should take a clear stance against all forms of surrogacy and not permit the adoption procedure to be used to sanction such arrangements.

Darius Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2018, with the headline 'Clear stance on all forms of surrogacy needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe