BREAKING NEWS Traffic alert: Overturned vehicle impacting traffic on Governors Drive at Monte Sano Boulevard Full Story

Gay Singaporean man can adopt son born via surrogacy, court rules

A gay Singaporean doctor has won the right to adopt a child he fathered in the United States through a surro...

Posted: Dec 17, 2018 5:00 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2018 5:00 PM

A gay Singaporean doctor has won the right to adopt a child he fathered in the United States through a surrogate, in a landmark ruling for the socially conservative country.

On Monday, Singapore's High Court overturned a 2017 ruling in which a district judge said the man could not legally adopt the child because he was conceived through in vitro fertilization -- a process limited to heterosexual married couples in Singapore -- and brought to term through surrogacy, which is technically banned.


Continents and regions

Demographic groups

Families and children

Gays and lesbians

Population and demographics

Sex and gender issues



Southeast Asia

Surrogate motherhood

Decisions and rulings

Law and legal system

Trial and procedure

Under Singapore law, children born out of wedlock are considered illegitimate and do not have the same rights as those born to married couples, unless legally adopted.

The 46-year-old doctor, who has not been identified, had been fighting to legally adopt his son, now 5, in an effort to acquire citizenship for the boy and secure his long-term residency in the city-state.

The man and his long-term partner -- who have been together for around 13 years -- paid $200,000 for the overseas surrogacy services after being told by local agencies that they were unlikely to be approved as adoptive parents because of their sexual orientation. The man's sperm was used to fertilize an egg from an anonymous donor and the egg was then transplanted into the surrogate mother.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Singapore while sex between men is punishable by up to two years in jail.

After the child was born in Pennsylvania in 2013, the surrogate mother -- a US citizen -- relinquished all parental rights and the man returned to Singapore with his son, court documents revealed.

In delivering the court's judgment, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon emphasized that the ruling "should not be taken as an endorsement" of the man's actions.

He said the court attributed "significant weight to the concern not to violate the public policy against the formation of same-sex family units."

But he added: "The evidence has demonstrated to us that it is very much in the interests of the Child that the adoption order be made, having regard principally to the fact that his prospects of acquiring Singapore citizenship could be significantly enhanced."

After the historic decision, the man told CNN in an emailed statement that the legal process had "been a long and difficult journey for our family" but "we are happy and relieved with the High Court's ruling."

He continued: "We hope that with the adoption order, it will increase the chances of our son residing in Singapore for the long term. Singapore is the only place we have known as home, and is where we wish to raise our family. We would like to thank our family, friends and the community for their support and encouragement. We ask for privacy during this time so that our family can celebrate the holidays."

Article Comments

Scattered Clouds
42° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 42°
42° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 42°
41° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 41°
42° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 42°
39° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 39°
WAAY Radar
WAAY Temperatures

Community Events