The number of citizenship requests for children born in India has increased by more than 300 per cent over the past five years. This accordingly to a media report in Australia quoting documents obtained under freedom of information. This increase in Australian children being born in India shows, laws criminalising commercial surrogacy are doing nothing to stop parents going overseas to find birth mothers for their children, the report quoting surrogacy advocates says.
The Age report, quoted, Surrogacy Australia founder Sam Everingham saying that "Australians were fast becoming the highest per capita users of compensated, or commercial, surrogacy, despite laws in NSW and other states criminalising it, even if it occurs overseas."
''Australia, funnily enough, has become one of the largest surrogacy markets internationally because of the perfect storm created by the lack of access to international adoption, women leaving childbirth later on, and the fact we are a wealthy country and women can afford it,'' The Age quoted him as saying.
According to The Age, Everingham estimates that about 500 couples across Australia were engaging in compensated surrogacy overseas each year.
The Age report is based on the finding of University of Technology Sydney professor Jenni Millbank.
According to figures she obtained from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, there were 519 applications for citizenship for children lodged in India in 2011-12, this compared with only 126 in 2007-08.
The Age quotes, Millbank saying ''Patients are going in blind, with no information from their doctors about how many embryos to transfer and the risks of those sorts of things.'' Accordingly to The Age, steep rises in Australian children being born in countries such as India show that more children were being delivered through compensated surrogacy.
However, the report clarifies that the figures could also include children who were not born through surrogacy but need to apply for citizenship overseas.
The rise is also evident in other countries commonly used for surrogacy, with Thailand increasing 54 per cent, from 297 to 459 applications, and Ukraine 122 per cent, from nine children to 20.
Professor Millbank has been arguing that Australia should create an ethical framework for compensated surrogacy, the report says.
''That doesn't mean a profit-driven system, or an incentive system, but one that doesn't make it so hard to do it if people want to do it,'' he added.
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