Nepal surrogacy standoff resolved but bigger issues remain

For numerous Australian families who have been unable to depart Nepal with their babies since new surrogacy laws were enforced there in August, this week has brought sighs of relief. On Wednesday, the news was announced the diplomatic negotiations have resolved the temporary situation and permission has been granted for these babies to leave, and travel to the countries of origin of their parents.

This is great news for families who thought they had come to the end of their surrogacy journeys, only to find that they were unable to bring their children back to Australia.  But for many other families who are currently considering their options regarding surrogacy, the recent situation in Nepal only highlights some of the dangers of travelling overseas to access a surrogate.

Only a couple of weeks ago it became increasingly clear that India plans to finally end the international surrogacy industry in that country, and they have now stopped issuing visas to anyone making application for a surrogacy visa.  I have been thrilled that despite these recent legislative draft submissions and the growing uncertainty regarding surrogacy both in India subcontinent and in Asia, I am still being welcomed, as part of my Churchill Fellowship, to visit with medical profressionals, lawyers and migration agents who work in the surrogacy field.  While it no longer appears that Australians will travel to India to find a surrogate, it is critical that overseas surrogacy processes are properly understood – in order for individual families to make decisions about how and where they will commence a surrogacy arrangement, and also so the legislative and policy makers in this country make fully informed decisions when considering changes  in how Australia facilitates families to undertake their surrogacy treatments.