Home > Brett Jenkin, Doug Weller, gay, surrogacy > Stonnington Leader – "Prahran Dads back New Laws" by Julia Adler

Stonnington Leader – "Prahran Dads back New Laws" by Julia Adler

Doug Weller and Brett Jenkin say they have what it takes to raise their one-year-old twin boy and girl: love, and plenty of it.

“If any child has one devoted and caring parent, they are lucky,” Brett said. “If they have two, they are extremely lucky.”

After spending more than $200,000 seeking a surrogate mother in Texas, US, Doug and Brett became the proud parents to twins in January 2007. The couple, who have been together for 13 years, said they had felt insulted by media scrutiny suggesting surrogate parents bought “designer babies”.

But this was not the case for Brett and Doug, who were desperate for a family. Media consultant Doug, 52, said: “These children were really wanted.” Doug said if Victorian laws had been different at the time, they wouldn’t have had to spend a small fortune finding a surrogate mother overseas to follow their dream.

The couple said they had been overwhelmed by the support and acceptance of the Stonnington community. “We’ve been warmly embraced by our mothers’ group,” said Brett, a former policeman who gave up work to be a stay-at-home father. “All of the mothers just see me as an equal.”

But outside Stonnington, Doug and Brett have battled prejudice. “People sometimes don’t know how to handle our family situation,” Brett said. He said the couple challenged the notion of social and sexual stereotypes: nuclear families and traditional gender roles. “Those who judge us don’t even know us or have seen our family unit in action,” Doug said. “They condemn us, not based on fact, but on prejudice. “They don’t think two men can be nurturing. “But they can be, and we are.”

The couple are committed to raising their children with traditional family values. “We don’t have mardi gras at our house every Saturday night,” Doug said. “We’ll bring up our children to not be bigots or prejudiced.”

What’s planned with laws?

Under the State Government’s reforms, the proposed new laws will include ones to:

* regulate altruistic, or non-commercial, surrogacy in Victoria;

* base treatment access on the problems the commissioning parents are having trying to conceive a child, rather than applying a test of clinical infertility to the surrogate mother;

* legally recognise surrogate parents with the surrogate mother’s consents and court approval;

* screen those seeking treatment in a clinic for charges involving sexual and violent offences and child protection orders; and,

* clarify that sperm and egg donors are not the legal parents of a child conceived through assisted reproductive technology.

[Link: Online]
[Link: Original Article]

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