Surrogacy is the practice of a woman becoming pregnant with a child who may or may not be genetically related to her, carrying the pregnancy and giving birth to the child for another family, who may then become the legal parents of the child. Surrogacy is a complex and sensitive subject that raises many ethical, legal and other issues and implications. It is a topic that attracts strong and often conflicting views.
Today, the South Australian Law Reform Institute has released on its website its report into South Australian surrogacy laws, an inquiry that was referred to the South Australian Law Reform Institute in December 2017. I strongly support the work of SALRI in this inquiry and welcome the report, which I now table in the parliament. I also thank the ongoing effort of the Hon. John Dawkins MLC and his contribution to surrogacy law reform in South Australia. Today’s report makes 69 recommendations which aim to address issues with the existing law and make further suggestions for change for the government’s consideration.
In conjunction with the public release of the report, I also table a draft bill which reflects the recommendations of SALRI. This bill will also be open to public consultation on the YourSAy website, giving all South Australians the opportunity to have their say on the reforms. As a government, we are committed to improving these laws. The draft bill is a work in progress, with various policy and other matters still under development which will likely be raised during consultation. The SALRI report makes recommendations in relation to the welfare of the child, appropriate counselling and legal advice, ensuring all direct costs associated with the surrogacy agreement are recoverable and making surrogacy accessible to single people.
In tabling this draft bill and opening it to public consultation, the government hopes to draw on the views and input of all parties, whether they be intending parents, surrogate mothers or relevant organisations, to inform a suitable regulatory framework for lawful domestic surrogacy in a stand-alone surrogacy act. Above all, the report and the tabled bill reiterate that commercial surrogacy, where a fee is charged for carrying the pregnancy, is and remains prohibited. I look forward to open and frank discussion on this issue from all parties in the lead-up to the bill’s formal introduction and urge all members to read the report, particularly those who have an interest in this matter.