Gay Singaporean dad loses court bid to officially adopt 4-year-old surrogate son

Photo for illustration purposes: Liz Randall/Flickr
Photo for illustration purposes: Liz Randall/Flickr

A gay Singaporean man has failed in a bid to formally adopt his biological son fathered via a surrogate in the United States at a cost of US$200,000 (SGD267,379).

The man, a doctor in a long-term relationship, initially approached authorities about adopting in the city-state but was told a homosexual couple were unlikely to get permission, according to court documents.

The couple travelled to the U.S., where the doctor underwent procedures for in-vitro fertilization and found a surrogate who agreed to carry his child for US$200,000.

A son was born and as the biological father, the doctor — who has not been identified — was allowed to bring him back to Singapore to live with him. The boy is now four.

The doctor applied to formally adopt the boy in Singapore to “legitimize” their relationship and hopefully secure him Singaporean citizenship but a court rejected his bid, according to a judgement released earlier this week.

District Judge Shobha Nair said that the doctor and his partner were aware that procedures to help couples have children were available to only married couples in Singapore and there were no surrogacy services in the city-state.

Gay marriage is not permitted in Singapore. Surrogacy is not explicitly banned, although official guidelines prohibit the practice in assisted reproduction centers, according to the Straits Times newspaper.

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

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

The child’s welfare was not an issue in the case and he will continue to be well looked after by his biological father. He is not stateless as he holds American citizenship, the judge said.

She was not swayed by the arguments of the man’s lawyers, Koh Tien Hua, Ivan Cheong, and Shaun Ho, who denied he was seeking to adopt the boy to form what would effectively be a legally recognized gay family, the Straits Times said.

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