For release: Wednesday May 11, 2011
The tragic news story this week of the first surrogate mother under Queensland’s Surrogacy Act regretting her participation in the surrogacy arrangement demonstrates the fraught nature of surrogacy, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has said.
ACL’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis said that surrogacy was an ethically and psychologically fraught practice that should never have gained the endorsement of the parliament.
“Whilst it is natural and right to empathise with the heartfelt desires of infertile couples to become parents, the welfare of the vulnerable in the process should have always been given a higher priority when the law was debated last year,” she said.
“The unfortunate news of Queensland’s first surrogate mother now regretting her involvement confirms the complexity that surrogacy creates for the birth mother in particular.
“As ACL advocated last year, the interests of the birth mother and especially children, who can never give their consent to the practice, should come before those of the intended parent(s) when it comes to surrogacy.”
Ms Francis rejected suggestions in the media today that psychological testing and counselling of all surrogacy participants was the remedy for the negative emotional consequences of surrogacy for birth mothers.
“It is impossible to know exactly how each woman will react to giving away a child they have carried and mothered as their own for nine months,” she said.
“Instead of encouraging adults to enter into deeply conflicted parenting agreements, Queensland law should have continued to dissuade adults from entering into such arrangements.
“Surrogacy should also be discouraged because it blurs family relationships and disrupts relationship links between conception, gestation, birth and motherhood, which are important factors for human identity.
“Deliberately denying children the right to be brought up within their biological families and to at least begin life with a mum and a dad, as Queensland surrogacy law does, is not in a child’s best interest.
“This is something the State should never do and ACL will be looking to promote candidates at the next State election who will put the rights of children to at least begin life with a mother and a father first by supporting the repeal of this provision,” Ms Francis said.
She also commended the birth mother for her courage in publicly expressing her emotional response to her personal involvement in a surrogacy arrangement.