SOME parents who resort to surrogacy are so desperate to get their children legally recognised they are committing medical fraud.In the most extreme cases, biological mothers are switching identities with surrogate mothers to get their name on the birth certificate.
Gestational surrogacy - where a woman bears a child that did not come from her own egg - is currently illegal in SA.
It is the subject of a parliamentary inquiry that began yesterday. In one case, "Michelle" was carrying "Sarah's" baby. They swapped names by deed poll until the birth, then swapped back.
Surrogacy advocate Kerry Faggotter, of Pooraka, said she has met women who have been forced to change their names to ensure the biological mother is on the birth certificate.
"(The surrogate mothers) are then covered by Medicare and have help with their expenses - also the identity of the child at the end is the name of the real parents, not the name of the surrogate mother," she said.
"There are problems health-wise when the woman is admitted to hospital if she is admitted under the wrong name, with the wrong medical history and the wrong blood types. But these are the things women are doing because their goal is to become a mother." It is understood that up to 30 SA couples undergo surrogacy procedures interstate every year. When they return to SA, they must adopt their own child to make it legally theirs.
A Health Department spokesman, Andrew Stanley, said there was anecdotal evidence that surrogate mothers had been admitted to hospital under the name of the child's biological mother.
Liberal MLC John Dawkins put forward a private member's Bill last year to allow gestational surrogacy in SA - currently it is only legal in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, although Western Australia is considering changes to legislation to allow surrogacy.