Singaporean Doctor Denied Option to Adopt His Child

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A Singapore court has denied a gay doctor permission to adopt his child, stating that the surrogacy arrangements he made in the U.S. conflict with the laws held in the country.

It all began when Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development told the man, who remains anonymous due to the case involving a minor, that adopting a child would be unlikely for a same-sex couple. He then travelled to the U.S. to go through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures, according to The Straits Times.

The man also paid a hefty price for the surrogate, offering her $200,000 to hold his child. However, IVF procedures are only allowed for married couples and surrogacy services are not available, which led to District Judge Shobha Nair turning down their adoption application.

“He cannot then come to the courts of the very same jurisdiction to have the acts condoned,” the court said. “This application is in reality an attempt to obtain a desired result [...] by walking through the back door of the system when the front door was firmly shut.”

Judge Nair pointed out that with the man should have been fully aware of the laws surrounding surrogacy because he was a doctor. The judge was also dismayed by the large sum of money that the man offered for the procedure.

"The very idea of a biological father seeking to adopt a child after paying a surrogate mother a sum of $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 Judge Nair.

Despite the court’s decision, the man and his partner of 13 years are currently seeking other options, according to their lawyers. The judge voted that their 4-year-old child will still remain in their care.

“The primary reason that motivates him is that like any father he wants the best for his son, he wants his son to be legitimate in the eyes of the law and to ensure that he has all the necessary benefits to set him on the right path,” said one of his lawyers, Ivan Cheong.

Many have voiced their disappointment in the court’s decision, including Singapore’s LGBT rights groups, Pink Dot. Despite several concerns with the verdict, the judge made it clear that the court’s decision was not based off what they deem as appropriate for a family.  

"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," said Nair.


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