The Bill also contains a definition of infertility, which is a precursor to a likely new definition to be endorsed by the World Health Organization — aside from issues of risk, ‘infertility’ is defined for the first time as ‘an inability, for a reason beyond the person’s control, to conceive’. This is a much broader definition than the traditional definition of medical infertility — which has been the inability to fall pregnant after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse — a definition which has been criticised for being heteronormative and not inclusive of singles, or same sex couples.
The Bill has come about following a review of the Adoption Act, and following public consultation. Not surprisingly there are quite a few tweaks to the 2009 Act. One of the more significant is that a step-parent adoption application must be made within 1 year of the suitability report being obtained. The Bill contains a wider definition of ‘relative’, to include the wider concept in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, consistent with other Queensland legislation. Another is that — consistent with Article 8 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child — a child’s identity ought to be preserved. When the adoption order is made, the child’s first name remains the same, except in exceptional circumstances with the agreement of the adoptive parents.
A further review of the Act is mandated five years after the Bill becomes law.
STEPHEN PAGE is a partner of Harrington Family Lawyers, Brisbane.