While there are no explicit laws banning surrogacy in Singapore, in practice, health institutions here are not allowed to offer it (Hard choices on surrogacy in Singapore; Jan 17).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) allows for fertility clinics, but discourages surrogacy.
If Singapore is serious about remedying its declining birth rate, perhaps MOH should legalise local surrogacy for childless couples who are unable to conceive even with fertility treatments.
Surrogacy gives a couple the joy of being able to watch their baby grow up from the very beginning.
Adoption can be a long and tedious process, and couples may also prefer surrogacy as the child will bear their genes.
Infertile couples deserve the chance to be happy parents. They should not be denied the option of surrogacy if they are able to find someone willing to carry the baby for them.
Surrogacy is a matter of choice, not morality. It simply provides a means to the end of allowing a couple to have a child. While it may be a controversial issue, there is room for discussion and understanding among those concerned.
Why should the state stand in the way of a couple's desire or decision to have children? As long as there is informed consent and no one is taking advantage of anyone else, legal surrogacy should be made available.
I acknowledge that more research needs to be done before taking this step. To avoid unintended consequences, it is important for MOH to make sure that all aspects of surrogacy have been looked into, such as the welfare of the surrogate mother.
MOH should consider conducting a pilot trial for surrogacy, instead of closing the door entirely.
Cheng Choon Fei