Parents warned over international ‘baby farms’

ONE News August 20, 2011

New Zealanders desperate to create a baby are heading overseas and paying up to $100,000 to hire a womb, unaware that their children could end up stateless. It is illegal to pay for a surrogate mother in New Zealand, but in many countries the practice is not regulated. The baby business has already led to trafficking and baby-breeding farms – one was found in Thailand earlier this year. As long as the hopeful parent can front up with the cash, the first steps to creating a baby are nothing more than a business transaction, kicked off in minutes. Child, Youth and Family had never heard of an international surrogacy case before last year, but since then the agency has had 63 inquiries from people looking overseas as a last resort for a family. International case work director Paula Attrill said some New Zealanders were now stuck in tricky immigration nightmares. “The baby is born and therein starts the problem – the baby is not legally theirs. Sometimes the child is not entitled to a passport and travel documents cannot be issued. It is a really new area.”