Brisbane couple Sophie and Julian Parkinson have found the COVID-19 restrictions difficult for different reasons than most Australians. Despite the practice being illegal, and the exorbitant cost, they entered into a surrogacy arrangement with a Ukraine woman to get what they most desired – a baby.

Current circumstances mean they are not able to get what they paid for.

They are one of at least 53 Australian families expecting babies to be born from a surrogate by the end of July in countries that include USA, Canada, Ukraine, India, Georgia, Mexico, and Kenya. The inclusion of India in this list is especially problematic because surrogacy for foreigners has been banned for many years by the Indian government.

Sam Everingham, founder of surrogacy organization Growing Families, speaking on ABC Radio National Breakfast referred to surrogate babies born in the midst of this pandemic as “…stateless… no names… cared for in hospitals by nurses”. The broadcaster, predictably, expressed sympathy for the Australian couple and presented only one side of the dark practice of surrogacy which many recognise as global baby-buying.

A pandemic restricting world travel is the least of the problems of surrogacy, which involves the despicable practice of treating women as incubators, and babies as ‘made to order’ products. No one has a right to a child. And women and babies should never be for sale.

Sadly, in our current culture, it is increasingly taboo to say anything to question the rights of the surrogacy lobby (and the associated LGBT+ lobby) to set the agenda. Surrogacy is a popular option for gay couples or single gay men in their attempt to become parents. The result is children being denied their rights, as they are deliberately created in a context where their natural parental relationships are severed, supplanted or marginalised, without any say in the process.

Radio National has knowingly promoted a situation that breaks Queensland law. The public deserve to hear the whole story of what goes on in the international baby market, where innocent babies and their exploited mothers are the victims of an unethical human trade.

It is not only Qld’s laws that have been broken, it is also the laws of nature:

  • Every human baby has a right NOT to be separated from their mother after birth (Article 9 Convention on the Rights of the Child)
  • Since 2011, it is a criminal act in Queensland to procure children from overseas surrogacy arrangements, punishable by three years in jail or a fine of $A100,000.
  • Commercial surrogacy is prohibited throughout Australia.
Radio National has knowingly promoted a situation that breaks Queensland law.

On 20 August 2019, Australian journalist Samantha Hawley’s exposé of the dirty surrogacy business in Ukraine, ‘Damaged babies and broken hearts’, aired on ABC's Foreign Correspondent. Watch the full video here. It was a complete indictment of the IVF/Surrogacy business in the Ukraine with disabled babies being unwanted and left behind.

The following day, 21 August 2019, Tracy Bowden teamed up with Foreign Correspondent to follow up the Ukrainian surrogacy report with another story on ABC's 7.30 Report, ‘Australian parents warn reality of Ukrainian surrogacy doesn’t always match the dream’ (also covered in the Wednesday 21 August 2019 broadcast of the 7.30 Report on iView). Sam Everingham was asked by Tracy Bowden during the 7.30 Report if he was assisting people to do something that is illegal in Qld, NSW and the ACT. He responded saying, “We don‘t believe those laws are right".

Dr Renate Klein, author of the book, Surrogacy: A Human Rights Violation, responded stating that all surrogacy, even if it is done ‘for love’ is deeply harmful and exploitative for the women involved as ‘surrogates’ and egg ‘donors’, and that no child has ever asked to become a take-away baby. Read more here.

Surrogacy is a deeply unethical business. It extracts big sums of money from well-off, desperate people so that their own dreams of a family can come true. These desperate people have come to believe that there is nothing wrong in treating usually very vulnerable women as mere breeders, and that children will not suffer from being wrenched from their mother’s arms.