SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) laid out its policy on adoption on Wednesday (Dec 27), when it commented on a court decision on a gay Singaporean doctor's bid to adopt a child he had fathered through surrogacy in the United States.
It said its position is "informed by Singapore's public policy, which encourages parenthood within marriage".
"Planned and deliberate parenthood by singles, as evidenced through the intentional use of assisted reproduction and/or surrogacy, runs contrary to this," an MSF spokesman said in an e-mailed response to queries from The Straits Times.
According to past media reports, surrogacy is not explicitly banned here, although the Health Ministry's guidelines prohibit assisted reproduction centres from practising surrogacy.
The MSF, in comments made on the failed bid on Wednesday night, said all adoption applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The factors it considers include the applicant's parenting capacity, parenting beliefs, family circumstances, support network and ability to meet the child's long-term needs.
"The best interests of the child are the primary consideration when the Guardian-in-Adoption assesses each adoption application," said the spokesman.
She explained that the director of social welfare, as the appointed Guardian-in-Adoption, opposed the Singaporean doctor's application on policy grounds.
But the Family Justice Courts make the final decision on adoption applications, taking into account various factors such as the assessment and recommendation of the director of social welfare.
"The Adoption of Children Act prohibits any payment or reward to the biological or adoptive parents for the adoption of the child, except with the sanction of the court," the spokesman added.
She also reiterated the court's stand, which is that the doctor's adoption application is a case of "intentional and deliberate parenthood by a single to conceive a child through procedures which are not allowed in Singapore".
In any case, she said, "the welfare of the child is not affected by the dismissal of the adoption application, and the child, who is a US citizen, will continue to be in his father's care".