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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Bligh Government releases model for altruistic surrogacy

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Bligh Government releases model for altruistic surrogacy

    Premier Anna Bligh today released the Queensland Government’s model for legal surrogacy arrangements in Queensland.

    Ms Bligh said the model will allow Queenslanders who have been unable to conceive a child, including same-sex couples, to start a family.

    “Under the model released today, people who have been unable to start a family will now have new hope of becoming parents,” Ms Bligh said.

    “All Queenslanders, including same-sex couples, will be able engage in surrogacy arrangements and to be legally recognised as the parents on the child’s birth certificate.

    “We are taking these steps because we believe that everyone – no matter their sexual status or their gender – should be afforded the privilege of parenthood.

    “Queensland is the only state where altruistic surrogacy is still a criminal offence, leaving many people with limited options for starting a family.

    “By decriminalising altruistic surrogacy in this state – that is where an agreement is reached with a woman to bear a child for another person for no financial gain or personal benefit – we offer those people fresh hope.”

    Ms Bligh said under the model released today, intending parents will be able to apply to a court to transfer the legal parentage of a child from the birth parents to themselves.

    “This will offer Queenslanders who engage a surrogate the legal right to perform the role of parents that so many others may take for granted,” Ms Bligh said.

    “The parties involved will be able to utilise any of the various methods for conception, such as in-vitro fertilisation, artificial insemination, and self insemination, as well as natural conception.

    “There will be no requirement for any of the parties to have a genetic connection to the child or with each other, although this may be the case in some circumstances.

    “At the end of the day, we simply want every child to be raised in a nurturing and supportive environment.”

    Attorney-General Cameron Dick said a District Court judge sitting in the Children’s Court will be given the authority to transfer legal parentage, ensuring the child will not be socially or legally disadvantaged.

    “We want each child to enjoy the same status and legal protection, irrespective of the circumstances of birth or the status of his or her parents,” he said.

    “This framework will ensure Queenslanders who enter in to altruistic surrogacy will be a legitimate family in the eyes of the law.”

    Mr Dick said the Queensland model includes a range of safeguards to protect the interests of all parties, but most importantly, the rights and interests of the child.

    “The Queensland framework is underpinned by the fundamental guiding principle that the best interest of the child is the paramount consideration,” Mr Dick said.

    “Commercial surrogacy will continue to be illegal and no financial gain will be allowed, other than compensation to the birth mother for hospital, medical and associated expenses.

    “Advertising for surrogacy births will also remain prohibited.”

    Ms Bligh said the Government has also conducted a review of the status of children being cared for by same-sex parents.

    “The core issue is that female same-sex couples may become parents without a surrogate - through artificial insemination or IVF – and it is important to also give these children legal certainty,” Ms Bligh said.

    “Therefore the government will also amend the Status of Children Act 1978 to provide that where two women decide to have a child together, both mothers are legally recognised as the child’s parents and both are listed on the child’s birth certificate.

    “At the end of the day, we want to ensure that all people who want to be parents have the opportunity to, and that most importantly, all children are treated equally.”

    The Queensland Model for the decriminalisation of altruistic surrogacy and the transfer of legal parentage, and the Review of the legal status of children being cared for by same-sex parents are now available on the Department of Justice and Attorney-General website: http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/33.htm.

    People are encouraged to comment on both papers up until 18 September by email to legalpolicysubmission@justice.qld.gov.au; or by writing to Director, Strategic Policy, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, GPO Box 149, Brisbane QLD 4001.

    The legislation is expected to be introduced in the parliament by the end of the year.

    Media Contact: 3239 3487