The head of one of America’s biggest surrogacy agencies says it is reasonable to pay a woman about $30,000 to carry a child for a couple.
Centre for Surrogate Parenting chief executive Karen Synesiou, who is in Perth to speak to fertility experts and families who have used the service, said women who acted as surrogates should be realistically compensated.
Under WA’s surrogacy laws, which are being reviewed, commercial surrogacy is banned and surrogates can only be paid for basic medical costs.
“America has a totally different view, in that surrogate mums are not paid to relinquish a baby but are compensated for the pain and suffering of a pregnancy,” Ms Synesiou said.
“I don’t have a problem with compensated surrogacy, although I don’t think it should all be paid to the surrogate mother at the birth because that feels like you’re paying for the baby. But if you’re paying for the cost of pregnancy, most surrogate mums are getting $US28,000, which is not a huge amount for nine months.”
Ms Synesiou said Australian laws also needed to better protect children born from overseas surrogacy arrangements, including guaranteeing them Australian citizenship instead of the current grey area.
Intending parents also needed to have criminal checks and counselling to show they were suitable to be parents.
She said the recent Baby Gammy case in Thailand had devastated what was a carefully controlled industry.
Children born from surrogacy arrangements were now being bullied in school and called “bought children”.
Her agency, which helped Elton John and his partner David Furnish have two sons, has a firm policy of full disclosure, particularly for the child.
“One of the things I say to intending parents is that they come in here voluntarily, the surrogate mother volunteers and I come to work voluntarily but the only person who is not at the table is the child, so we all have a duty to protect their rights,” Ms Synesiou said.