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Singapore judge refuses to let gay man adopt child he had using a surrogate

Joseph McCormick December 30, 2017

Intersex children are often operated on (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

A gay man in Singapore has had an application to adopt a child he had through a surrogate overseas rejected.

The man spent $200,000 to father the child using a surrogate in the US.

But a district judge in Singapore has said the man can’t adopt the boy, now four years old.

Baby kiss

The court said that the Adoption of Children Act “did not envisage the specific situation this case presents”.

The man, a doctor, has been with his partner for 13 years.

They were told by the Ministry of Social and Family Development that it could not recommend adoption of children by a gay couple.

He later used a surrogate to carry the child after impregnating a donated egg using IVF.

The man brought the child back to Singapore as his biological father and said he wanted to legally adopt him to “legitimise his relationship with the child”.

But District Judge Shobha Nair rejected the application.

The judge said that, as a doctor, the man should have been aware that Singapore does not approve of surrogacy.

She also said that he should have known that the use of IVF is limited to married couples.

The judgement was released on 26 December.

The judge said the man was “acutely aware that the medical procedures undertaken to have a child of his own would not have been possible in Singapore”.

“He cannot then come to the courts of the very same jurisdiction to have the acts condoned.”

“The very idea of a biological father seeking to adopt a child after paying a surrogate mother a sum of US$200,000 to carry his child to term reflects the very thing the Adoption Act seeks to prevent – the use of money to encourage the movement of life from one hand to another,” said the judge in the ruling.

“The applicant is the only parent he knows. The child will continue to be in his care,” the judge added.

But despite continuing to have a safe home, the issue of whether the child will be given Singapore citizenship could hinge on whether the adoption goes through.

The judge added: “The immigration authorities act independently and will issue (their) own decision on the matter.”

“It does not further the interest of the four-year-old child. A four-year-old child will thrive anywhere in the hands of loving people,” continued the judge.

She made it clear, however; that the court was not passing judgement on whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt.

“This court is obligated to interpret the law and not make it. The law mirrors the morality and wishes of the majority of Singaporeans… this case has very little to do with the propriety and/or effectiveness of same-gender parenting.”

More: adoption, Asia, district court, Singapore, Singapore

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