The following are some important issues that may arise in relation to raising a child as a LGBT couple, should they decide to have their own children and start a family of their own.
Care of the children
If an LGBT couple has a child overseas, it is unlikely that the couple will be recognised as the child’s legal parents in Singapore. In the case of female same-sex couples, it is unlikely that Singaporean law will recognise the other mother as the baby’s other parent. In such situations, the surname of the baby on the birth certificate will be that of the gestational mother.
Removal of a child from an LGBT couple by government agencies on the basis of them being LGBT is unlikely. Such a drastic course of action will only be taken if it is considered to be in the best interests of the child. It would be absurd to remove a child from an LGBT couple merely on the grounds that the child is being raised by an LGBT couple, especially if the child is being well cared for.
Due to biological limitations, LGBT couples may turn to assisted reproduction services in order to bear children.
Assisted reproduction in Singapore is regulated by the Licensing Terms and Conditions on Assisted Reproduction Services, which put into place strict regulations on the provision of assisted reproductive services. These regulations make reference to couples as husband and wife, suggesting that only married heterosexual couples can obtain artificial reproductive services in Singapore.
While this excludes such services from LGBT couples in Singapore, there appear to be no restrictions on LGBT couples going to countries where it is legal to obtain such services, and procuring these services there.
It is not clear whether these regulations apply to artificial insemination. However, it is common practice for clinics not to offer such services to non-married couples as a matter of policy. However, there appear to be no restrictions on LGBT couples obtaining their own sperms and carrying out the insemination by themselves.
There also appears to be no restrictions on LGBT couples going to countries where it is legal to undergo artificial insemination and obtaining these services there.
As for who would be considered the child’s legal parents, the gestational mother will generally be recognized as the legal parent. However, in the case of male same-sex couples, the man whose sperm was used will not be considered the legal father.
Surrogacy refers to a method of reproduction whereby a woman agrees to go through a pregnancy for a person or a couple, with the intention of that person or couple becoming the baby’s parent(s) after birth. Surrogacy arrangements are prohibited in Singapore, both for LGBT and heterosexual couples.
However, there appear to be no restrictions on LGBT couples going to countries where it is legal to obtain surrogacy services and obtain such services there. That being said, an LGBT couple who obtains a child through surrogacy services overseas is likely to have their adoption application denied by the Singapore courts.
This was the case in a recent decision by a Singapore court, which rejected a gay man’s application to adopt a child that he fathered through surrogacy. He had obtained surrogacy service overseas, and while he was permitted to bring the child back to Singapore with him, the court rejected his adoption application on the grounds that surrogacy is prohibited in Singapore. However, the judge emphasized that the decision was not based on the appropriateness and/or effectiveness of same-sex parents, leaving room for optimism in future decisions to come.
Adoption can be either local (such that the child adopted is in Singapore) or foreign (such that the child adopted is from another country). Opposite-sex couples may adopt as a couple if they are legally married under Singapore law. In the case of same-sex couples, however, the adoption must be done by one parent as an unmarried person. The following potential obstacles should be noted:
- Unmarried persons may face stricter examination of their abilities to raise the child by the authorities.
- When an LGBT person adopts as a single parent, the other partner does not have any legal parental rights in relation to the child.
- Should a male same-sex couple wish to adopt and one of the partners has to be the parent seeking to adopt, he may not be able to adopt a female child unless the court permits him to do so
The stages of adopting a child are as follows:
- The person seeking to become the child’s adoptive parent has to attend a pre-adoption briefing before beginning the adoption process
- If the child is being adopted from overseas, apply for a Home Study and obtain a Home Study report
- Identify the child
- Obtain the notarized consent of the child’s parents. If the child’s parents are not available, notarized consent may be obtained from either the child’s guardian, the person who has actual custody of the child, the person who is liable to support the child, or the parents of the biological parent of the child where the child is below 21 years of age. The court may dispense with this consent requirement if it is satisfied that dispensation is justified.
- Obtain the child’s relevant documents, including his/her birth certificate and passport
- If the child is being adopted from overseas, apply for a Dependent’s Pass for the child to enable the child to stay in Singapore until the adoption is finalized
- Apply to the Family Court to commence adoption proceedings
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in