Something about this story does not quite add up:
They are believed to be the first gay dads in Queensland to pay Indian women to carry their children, with the total bill costing up to $80,000. The money paid by the Cairns couple will be equivalent to more than 10 years’ wages for each of the women.
But the two expectant dads will be forced to submit DNA tests to prove they are the fathers because the babies will be deemed stateless – born without a nationality. The DNA tests are needed to verify the babies descend from an Australian citizen before the twins can be issued with Australian passports. The gay couple are believed to have paid $20,000 for donor eggs from a Caucasian woman in South Africa.
The couple announced the impending arrival of their babies – due to be born in January – on Facebook. The couple told The Weekend Post they had faced significant hurdles in organising the surrogate pregnancies. They refused to be identified or comment further.
Altruistic surrogacy – an arrangement without payment – was decriminalised in Queensland in February, allowing same-sex couples to be the legal parents of a surrogate child and the right to be listed as parents on the child’s birth certificate. Before the reform, Queensland was the only state where altruistic surrogacy was a criminal offence, attracting a $10,000 fine or three years’ jail.
India and the US are the two most popular destinations for commercial surrogacy, where contracts for pregnancy are legal and widespread. Because of the secretive nature of commercial arrangements, a fear of backlash and a minefield of potential legal and immigration issues, it is not known how many gay or lesbian couples in Australia have children born to surrogate mums in India.
Action Reform Change Queensland spokesperson Rod Goodbun, a vocal campaigner for reform of the state’s surrogacy laws, said it was extremely rare for gay couples to have children using surrogate mothers overseas. “There are commercial services and agencies online where they can arrange surrogacy pregnancy and the agency will have a list of women who are willing to partake in surrogacy,” he said. “At the moment it’s not widespread and I don’t think it’s a huge trend in the gay community.”
The article is unclear as to whether each Surrogate is being paid $300 dollars per day (which would be approximately $80,000 each) or the cost for both surrogates is $300 per day equating to approximately $40,000.00 each. Regardless, these numbers are extraordinary high — even for American standards. In typical Indian surrogate arrangements, the surrogates would be receiving less than 10% of that amount. What is also curious is the amount these expectant dads paid for their egg donor. The reason most couples go to India or South Africa is to save money on the cost of an IVF cycle – up to 75% of what similar services would cost here in America. Yet this Queensland couple will have paid triple the average compensation a donor in the United States would receive — and more than double what is permissible under the ASRM guidelines.
So something about this story just does not ring true. Either this couple was exploited, money was no object or it is a product of bad reporting. Or a combination thereof. Regardless, as news of this spreads, there is certain to be fallout and we will update this blog entry as more information becomes available.