SINGAPORE: A gay Singaporean man will appeal to overturn a court decision rejecting his bid to adopt his biological son fathered via a surrogate in the United States, one of his lawyers said Friday.
A district court last month had denied the petition of the man, a doctor, on grounds that the medical procedures he had taken to have the baby in the US would not have been possible in Singapore.
Ivan Cheong said his client’s appeal will be heard in private by the family division of the Singapore High Court but no date for the hearing has been set.
“He is appealing against the entire decision as he feels the dismissal of his application for an adoption order is not in the child’s best interest,” Cheong told AFP.
Cheong said, however, that “the arguments and reasons for our client’s case on appeal will not be disclosed to the press as our client does not want to be seen to be litigating his appeal through” the media.
The man, who is in a long-term relationship, initially approached authorities about adopting in the city-state but was told a homosexual couple was unlikely to get permission, according to court documents.
The couple travelled to the US where the doctor underwent procedures for in-vitro fertilisation 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 because the case involves a minor — 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 “legitimise” their relationship and hopefully secure Singapore citizenship for him.
District Judge Shobha Nair said that the doctor and his partner were aware that procedures to help people 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 centres, according to the Straits Times newspaper.
The district judge had ruled that the child’s welfare was not an issue in the case as he will continue to be well looked after by his biological father, and he is not stateless as he holds American citizenship.