An advocacy group in Australia fears the country will ban international surrogacy following a case involving a child with Down’s syndrome in Thailand.
After paying a Thai woman $15,000 to have their children, an Australian couple refused to take the boy home due to his condition.
It is currently illegal to pay for a surrogate in Australia. This means that couples who want children have to find someone willing to do it for no pay, except for help with medical expenses, or look abroad.
Advocacy group Surrogacy Australia is concerned that this case will lead to even tighter restrictions on the practice and could even result in an international ban.
Rachel Kunde, the group’s executive director, said a ban on international surrogacy was the group’s “greatest fear”. She added that they hoped “the government will make accessing surrogates in Australia easier”.
Once the couple found out that the boy would be born with Down’s syndrome, they urged the surrogate to have an abortion. She refused, as she said it went against her religious beliefs as a Buddhist.
In addition to Down’s syndrome, the child also has a congenital heart defect and a lung infection. Despite their refusal to take him home, the couple did take the boy’s healthy twin sister.
The surrogate mother has said she will raise the boy as her own.
After the case received attention from the international news media, an online campaign has raised $185,000, which is roughly £110,000, to help the mother pay for the boy’s medical treatment.
Photo of the Australian flag by Timothy Swinson via Flickr