On May 24, 2017, Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. In doing so, it not only opened the doors for same-sex couples wanting to marry, but also provided them with the opportunity to have children by a surrogate.
One of the issues that previously prevented same-sex couples, more specifically, those in Asia from making use of international surrogacy services, was the issue of parentage. Because same-sex marriage was not legally recognized in Asia, “parentage” was only characterized as being between a woman and man. For this reason, couples would list the surrogate mother or sperm donor as the second parent. Though this potential quick fix served as a temporary resolution to a problem, this “loophole” raised an equally troubling question of whether the sperm or egg donor (“second listed parent”) should be entitled to parental rights or responsibilities. Furthermore, it also created an issue of child custody in the event the same-sex couple were to divorce, because only one of the “intended parents” was listed as the child’s parent.
Following Taiwan’s recent change in legalization, same-sex couples seeking international surrogacy in Asia will no longer have to sidestep parentage. Now that their marriage will be recognized in Taiwan, intended parents, irrespective of their sex, can now legally list themselves as their child’s parents. Taiwan’s court ruling is not only a step forward in acceptance of the right to marry, but a step forward in acceptance of the ability of same-sex parents to raise a child.
To learn more about international surrogacy law, or to seek counsel for international surrogacy or other family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Evie P. Jeang, Managing Partner of Ideal Legal Group and Founder of Surrogacy Concierges.