Monday, August 29, 2011

Tasmanian surrogacy reform may be "years" away

According to the head of the Tasmanian Upper House committee handling the issue, it may be "years" before Tasmania comes up with adequate surrogacy laws, as reported by the Mercury:

This would be a mistake. Despite my repeated criticisms of the failure of Australian governments to have a one size fits all surrogacy law, on the obvious basis that for example intending parents in Western Australia are unique or different, or have peculiar Western Australian characteristics as compared to those in the eastern States, which therefore justifies discrimination in Western Australia against gays and lesbians and single men, to continue the ban in Tasmania against surrogacy would be a mistake.

All it will do is to ensure that Tasmanians either go interstate or overseas for treatment or have a traditional surrogacy and not tell anyone about it. It is legal for Tasmanians to get treatment in some other States, and it is legal for Tasmanians to go overseas for commercial surrogacy. Or if this is all too much trouble, Tasmanian intended parents will simply up and leave, and vote with their feet, moving interstate to somewhere where it is easier to undertake surrogacy.

Tasmania cannot afford to lose these people. The clients I have helped who want to proceed with surrogacy are people in their 30's and 40's, often in the professions or small business, and with enough money to proceed with a surrogacy. As an altruistic surrogacy costs $40-60,000 and overseas surrogacy costs range from $40,000 to $120,000, those contemplating these sizable costs are the very people that Tasmania should be striving to keep living in Tasmania for the benefit of its economy.

All I would ask the politicians in Tasmania to do is to legislate, and quickly, to ensure that Tasmanians are not left out.

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