Exploring surrogacy as an intended parent
One of the first and most important decisions you will have to make concerns where you want to pursue surrogacy. There are several options available to Australians both domestically and internationally. Your choice is individual to you, and may be based upon many different factors.
Surrogacy in Australia
Surrogacy in Australia is regulated in each state, which means there are no uniform laws that cover surrogacy across the country. Surrogacy laws in all states follow the same basic principles:
- The Intended Parents must not be able to either conceive or carry a baby themselves. You should check the laws in your state to see who can access surrogacy.
- The surrogacy arrangement is not enforceable. This means that if the surrogate does not relinquish the baby, or the intended parents do not accept the baby, neither party can enforce the agreement. However, the surrogate can enforce the agreement to recover prescribed costs.
- The surrogacy arrangement must be altruistic. Commercial surrogacy is illegal in all states in Australia. This means the surrogate and her partner cannot be paid for carrying a baby for someone else.
- Whilst surrogacy is altruistic, the intended parents must cover the surrogate’s expenses in relation to surrogacy, pregnancy and birth.
- When the baby is born, the birth is registered in the state where the baby is born, with the surrogate and her partner listed as the baby’s parents on the Birth Certificate. After the birth, the Intended Parents can apply to the Court for a Parentage Order in the state where they live. The Order transfers parentage from the birth parents (the surrogate and her partner) to the intended parents. The Birth Certificate is then reissued with the new parents listed, instead of the surrogate and her partner.
[Surrogacy in Australia – a quick overview // Australian Surrogacy Handbook 2018, Sarah Jefford]
Connecting with an Australian surrogate
Altruistic surrogacy in Australia is built upon a foundation of friendship, any many intended parents may have a family member or friend who is willing to help them have a family.
A member of the Australian Surrogacy Community wrote a very helpful guide to updating your network with your fertility journey. You can read her suggestions in Spreading the Word.
It’s also a very good idea to join online support communities, where you can connect with other intended parents and gain practical advice and guidance for your journey ahead. If you have found a family member or friend to act as your surrogate, they should join the groups too so they are also able to receive support from other surrogates. We recommend the following groups:
International surrogacy for Australians