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In Singapore, surrogacy arrangements, same-sex marriage, and gay sex are all illegal. Against the odds, Singapore’s High Court recently awarded a gay man in Singapore the right to legally adopt his biological son born through surrogacy.
The 46-year old has been in a committed relationship with his partner for 13 years. Wanting to become parents despite Singapore’s ban on surrogacy, the couple chose to travel to the U.S. to have a child through a surrogacy arrangement. After their son was born, the man tried to legally adopt the child but his request was denied and he had no parental rights. The gestational carrier was not herself Singaporean and had waived all of her parental rights. All of this left the child, now four years old, illegitimate and without legal parents in the eyes of the law in Singapore.
A lower court denied the father’s adoption request last year, basing its decision on the ethics of commercial surrogacy arrangements. The father appealed and the higher court recently overturned the lower court’s ruling, paving the way for the father to legally adopt his son. Unfortunately, because same-sex marriage is not an option, the father will have to adopt the child as a single person and his partner will not have any parental rights. Still, it’s a win for the couple and for their son.
The court was clear in its ruling that the decision should be viewed through the lens of what is in the child’s best interest rather than as a statement about the country’s ban on same-sex families. Still, it’s a glimmer of hope for other same-sex would-be parents in Singapore.
If you plan to grow your family through the use of surrogacy, working with an experienced assisted reproduction attorney can help you protect your parental rights. Our thorough contracts also establish the intent of the parties regarding parental rights, identify the parties’ financial responsibilities, and ensure all parties are aware of the importance of informed consent, providing our clients with further peace of mind as they navigate their surrogacy journeys. Contact us today to get started!