surrogacy process

/surrogacy process

How Do I Find a Surrogate in Australia?

By |2019-01-18T19:58:18+00:00January 18th, 2019|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, Blog, finding a surrogate, surrogacy process|

So you’ve decided to explore surrogacy as an option to grow your family. You’ve done some google searches and are finding the information-overload a bit overwhelming. Rest assured, you’re not alone and plenty of other intended parents have traveled this journey before you. This post provides some information to set you on your way to finding a surrogate within Australia.

Before you go looking for a surrogate, you need to know if you meet the criteria for surrogacy in Australia. This is crucial – you cannot pursue surrogacy unless you have been advised by a medical professional that this is an option for you. Infertility whilst challenging, is not of itself grounds for surrogacy. If you or your partner have a uterus, you must have medical clearance to take the next step. There are lots of reasons why people pursue surrogacy – generally speaking, an incapacity to conceive or carry a baby to term will qualify – whether it’s chronic illness, incompatible medication, or recurrent pregnancy loss. Only a medical professional can make that assessment. If you are a same-sex male couple, you will qualify of course, except in Western Australia where gay men cannot currently access surrogacy – this is likely to change in the next year or two.

If you have been advised to pursue surrogacy to grow your family, you can start searching for a surrogate. The first thing to remember is that intended parents outnumber women who are willing to carry a baby for someone else. Many intended parents travel overseas to pursue surrogacy, because surrogacy in Australia is not common. Approximately 60 surro-babies are born in Australia each year – several hundred are born overseas. And whilst I fully support and encourage altruistic surrogacy within Australia, the reality is that less than 1 in 5 couples seeking a surrogate will find one in Australia.

There are, however, lots of reasons why you should consider Australian surrogacy as an option. For one, the arrangement is regulated by Australian laws, which means the surrogates rights are protected and the child’s best interests are paramount. You’ll be able to have lots of contact with your surrogate and her family. For any baby conceived through the arrangement, they will also be able to have contact with her  as they grow up and get to know their story. Surrogates and intended parents report positive ongoing relationships well beyond the pregnancy or birth.

Surrogacy in Australia is a bit like dating. And just like dating, it takes time and commitment for it to work. The parties need to be friends and have built sufficient trust for it to be a positive journey. Most new couples don’t make a baby within a few months! Surrogacy is not just about making a baby – it is about growing families and friendships. Altruistic surrogates are not paid to carry a baby; their reward is entirely in the giving and the ongoing relationships they have with the family they’ve helped create.

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, read on! If you would prefer to consider overseas options, you can book a consult with Sarah via the link below.

Finding a surrogate in Australia is challenging and, as we say around here, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s lots of learnings, growth and value in the journey. Here’s some avenues you might explore to meeting and building a relationship with that amazing woman and her family.

  1. Tell Your Story. This might seem like a strange way to find a surrogate, but it can work. Half of surrogacy arrangements in Australia are through ‘existing relationships’ – that is friends and family members. Many surrogates will tell you that they considered being a surrogate but didn’t know anyone in their friends or family who needed one. Have you told your friends and family about your intentions to grow your family? Do they know where you’re up to with that plan? Some intended parents will share their story in an email to their loved ones, and offer to talk to anyone who wants more information. Women who are considering becoming surrogates can access a free initial legal advice session with me before they make any final decisions. You might like to send them a copy of The Australian Surrogacy Handbook if they’re looking for more information.Whilst I advocate for people sharing their story with friends and family, there are laws prohibiting advertising for a surrogate. Be careful that you story is just that – that you want to have a child and your reasons why you need someone else to carry for you. Be careful not to say anything that might look like an advertisement.
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  2. Join the Community. There are Facebook groups and forums you can join to meet other intended parents and surrogates. Below are a few you should try:
    1. The Australian Surrogacy Community on Facebook. This is a social group of intended parents and surrogates from around Australia. It is well-moderated and the community is supportive and generous with information. There are also regular catch-ups in many States which are organised through this group. I met my intended parents through this group, as lots of teams do.
    2. Egg Donation Australia  is another Facebook group and membership includes altruistic egg donors and egg recipients around Australia.
    3. Fertility Connections is a forum connected to The Australian Surrogacy Community Facebook group. This is where a lot of the discussions happen and parties can provide information about their stories and their intentions.
    4. Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service is an new option for surrogates and intended parents to meet. It is designed to support both surrogates and intended parents in forming well-suited teams and to support those teams over their surrogacy journeys with inbuilt counselling, mentoring and expenses management support.
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  3. Get Educated. There are lots of resources on this site for you to learn about surrogacy options and how altruistic surrogacy works in Australia. Take your time to read the information, download the Handbook and get educated about how surrogacy works in Australia. You should also listen to The Australian Surrogacy Podcast, which includes stories from surrogates and intended parents who have been where you are and have generously shared their experiences so that others can benefit.
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  4. Speak to Professionals. Now is a good time to speak to a fertility specialist about embryo creation and how a Clinic might support you in your surrogacy journey. Ask other intended parents in your State which specialists and Clinics they recommend. You might also speak to a lawyer about your options and the processes involved. You can book a consult with me via the link below.
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  5. Get Ready to Make a Baby. Whilst you are researching and getting to know other people in the community, you should also consider what options are available to make embryos. If you need an egg donor, you might want to look for one before searching for a surrogate. Embryo creation takes time. Some Clinics cannot make embryos before a surrogate is available, due to the State laws – it is worth seeking advice about your specific circumstances to find out the best way forward.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Book an initial 30 minute consult

Click here to book!

Why Surrogacy Agreements are not like Contracts, and How to Write Your Own

By |2019-01-15T01:13:42+00:00January 14th, 2019|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, Blog, surrogacy, surrogacy process, written agreements|

The elements of a basic contract include (1) an offer, (2) acceptance, (3) consideration (usually money) and (4) an intention to create a legal relationship. For example, you offer to buy a car for $10,000. The owner of the car accepts your offer; you provide $10,000 as payment (consideration), in return for the car. Both you and the owner of the car enter into a legal relationship to exchange money for the car.

In altruistic surrogacy arrangements, the surrogate and her partner offer to carry a baby for another person or couple, and the intended parents accept. But there’s no real consideration. The intended parents might get a baby, and the surrogate can expect to have her expenses covered. All going well, the surrogate is rewarded for her good deed with lots of love and fuzzy feelings. And whilst the parties might intend to enter a legal relationship, the fact is that surrogacy agreements in Australia are not enforceable, other than to ensure the surrogate’s expenses are covered.

So if an altruistic surrogacy agreement is not like a contract, why would you write it as if it were a contract? In most States, a written Agreement is required as evidence of the arrangement, and is a prerequisite for a Parentage Order.  There is no requirement for what should be in a Surrogacy Agreement, which means you can include things that are important to you, and leave out things that you do not want.

A good Surrogacy Agreement should be written in good faith to a trusting relationship between the parties. The Agreement might include:

  1. Recitals – these are background details, such as
    1. the names, dates of birth and addresses of all the parties;
    2. details of the reasons why the intended parents need a surrogate;
    3. details of embryos and who provided the gametes to create the embryos (including details of any donors);
    4. details of the Clinic and specialist treating the parties;
    5. that the surrogate and her partner have offered to carry a baby for the intended parents, who have accepted the offer;
    6. that the agreement is altruistic and that the surrogate will not be receiving any payment for carrying baby for the intended parents.
  2. Surrogacy Expenses: That the intended parents agree to cover the expenses of the surrogate as determined by the relevant laws in the intended parents’ State.
  3. Pregnancy and Birth Care: Agreements about pregnancy and birth care, if you have any.
  4. Termination of Pregnancy: if there are agreements about when a pregnancy may or may not be terminated, you can include them in the Agreement. Remember that having it in writing does not make it enforceable. Many surrogacy teams find it difficult to make a decision about termination until they are faced with such a scenario.
  5. Details of the counselling that the parties have completed.
  6. Agreements and understanding that the surrogate has bodily autonomy and can make the final decision about treatment she receives.
  7. Agreements about registering the child’s birth with a name chosen by the intended parents.
  8. Parentage Order – statement that the intended parents intend to apply for a Parentage Order after the baby is born and that the surrogate and her partner intend to consent to the application.
  9. Legal Advice: Statement that each party has obtained independent legal advice.

Some Agreements, particularly ones that look like contracts, are often based on overseas commercial surrogacy arrangements. Remember, this is an altruistic arrangement, and writing an Agreement like a commercial contract will undermine the trust and goodwill between the parties. Things to avoid in a Surrogacy Agreement include:

  1. Elements that are too prescriptive, such as listing the way the surrogate should or should not behave, or what she can and cannot eat. Many surrogates agree not to drink alcohol during pregnancy; having it in writing does not make it more enforceable but it may serve to make her feel like she’s being micro-managed.
  2. A termination clause that allows the parties can terminate the Agreement during a pregnancy. The Agreement is not enforceable; a termination clause is unnecessary. It also suggests that if the surrogate ‘breaks’ an agreement (for example, that she won’t drink alcohol), that the intended parents can terminate the agreement for that reason.
  3. Any clause that provides for the surrogate to reimburse the intended parents if she has a miscarriage due to ‘wanton recklessness’. My clients always find these clauses upsetting and offensive. If you are worried that your surrogate might be reckless or negligent during pregnancy, you should discuss that during counselling and consider not entering the agreement at all. Trust is a crucial element of an altruistic surrogacy arrangement. Even if a surrogate were to miscarry and there was evidence that she was ‘reckless,’ it is unlikely that any Court would order her to reimburse the intended parents for expenses. Remember that the surrogate maintains bodily autonomy and that pregnancy termination is legal in most Australian States.

Surrogacy arrangements are, by their nature, legal arrangements and that’s why lawyers are inevitably involved. But in my experience, lawyers should be a positive influence on the process – helping you understand the consequences of entering into the arrangement, and your rights and responsibilities. The relationships, however, will outlast any legal process. My final piece of advice, therefore, is to focus on the relationship and trust building, and the counselling, to ensure you have a positive experience. Because at the end of the day, it won’t matter what is written in an Agreement; it is the relationships that are important.

Remember, all parties need to obtain independent legal advice, and nothing here should be seen to replace independent legal advice. If you have questions or need assistance, get in touch with me via the links.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

So You Want to Be a Surrogate?

By |2019-01-18T19:59:50+00:00January 3rd, 2019|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, America, Blog, laws, surrogacy process, surrogate|

I remember when I first considered becoming a surrogate – searching everywhere for information and ending up down many an internet rabbit hole. I was excited and nervous; my husband was skeptical. How could we know if it was right for us, that we wouldn’t regret our decision, that our family and children would be ok at the end of it? And how could we find reliable information to help us make the decision? We tried accessing information and support from an IVF Clinic, who told us that they couldn’t help because we weren’t paying clients.

In the end, we made our decision to take the leap into surrogacy, without really knowing what we were getting ourselves into. And luckily, our relationship with our intended parents blossomed and withstood the challenges ahead – the counselling, the legal process, psychological assessments, and ethics approval. And then trying to become pregnant, and pregnancy, birth and beyond. We worked really hard at our relationship, but we also got lucky with each other.

Are you considering becoming a surrogate, for a friend, family member, or someone you hope to meet on the internet? It’s a daunting prospect; so much to consider and a lot of information to take in. Are you racing ahead, excited to get started and make someone’s dreams come true? (I know I was!). We have a saying in the surrogacy community – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time, (take off those rose-coloured glasses!), absorb the information, ask lots of questions. And, get advice.

I want to promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements in Australia, and to do that I think everyone needs to be fully prepared before they jump in. So with that in mind, I’m providing free initial surrogacy consults to any woman (and her partner) who is considering becoming a surrogate. I’ll take you through the laws, the criteria, the processes…and add a dash of personal experience to help you on your way.

I’ll help you make informed decisions so you can build a surrogacy arrangement on a strong foundation. Because I want you to know if surrogacy is right for you before you take the leap. I want you to have a positive experience, and I’ll do what it takes to get you there.

To book a free consult, click the booking link below.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Book a FREE initial Surrogate consult

Click here to book!

Frequently Asked Questions

By |2019-01-18T20:01:42+00:00January 2nd, 2019|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, Blog, costs of surrogacy, finding a surrogate, ivf, parentage order, surrogacy process, traditional surrogacy|

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Book an initial 30 minute consult

Click here to book!

DIY Parentage Order: You Can Do It!

By |2019-01-18T20:01:55+00:00December 27th, 2018|Categories: Australia, Blog, laws, parentage order, surrogacy process|

By the time you have your baby in your arms, you’ve spent considerable money on IVF, legal expenses, counselling and pregnancy and birth expenses for your surrogate…not to mention decorating the nursery and buying size 0000 onesies! I imagine you’re probably a bit worn out, financially, and more than ready to settle down with your new family.

But what about the Parentage Order?! You need to apply for the Parentage Order, to transfer parentage from the surrogate and her partner to the intended parents, and to get the Birth Certificate re-issued with your names listed as parents. Usually that means more lawyer fees… but did you know that there’s no requirement to have a lawyer represent you for your Parentage Order? You can choose to do it all yourself! Read below for my tips on preparing your own Parentage Order application, and how you can get the help you need without spending a fortune.

In each State, there are requirements that you must meet before applying for a Parentage Order. You should have a look at the law that applies in your State:

New South Wales: Surrogacy Act 2010

Queensland: Surrogacy Act 2010

Victoria: Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008

South Australia: Family Relationships Act 1974

Tasmania: Surrogacy Act 2012

ACT: Parentage Act 2004

Western Australia: Surrogacy Act 2008

Note that legislation is often updated, and surrogacy law reform is expected in WA, SA, Victoria and NT in the coming year or two. If you’re looking for the most up-to-date legislation, you can usually find it by googling the name of the law and the State – for example ‘surrogacy act nsw.’

If you are in Victoria, you are extra lucky because there is a DIY Parentage Order kit on the County Court website.

The documents required for the Application include:

  1. The Application. You should search the Court in your State for template forms, and call the Court Registry and ask them for assistance.
  2. An Affidavit from the Intended Parents;
  3. An Affidavit from the surrogate and her partner;
  4. A Certified Copy of the baby’s Birth Certificate;
  5. The Court filing fee (most States charge a fee, usually between $400 and $1,200).

The general criteria of a Parentage Order are listed within the legislation for each State – you should read the legislation and look for sections called ‘Application for Parentage Order’ and similar. In NSW, for example, you should pay attention to Division 4 – Preconditions to making a Parentage Order.  You will see that a Parentage Order requires certain preconditions to have been met – including that the parties obtained legal advice and had counselling about the arrangement, and evidence that it was altruistic and that the surrogate and her partner consent to the Order being made.

All of this might seem overwhelming, and that’s understandable. Remember that lawyers have been trained to read, analyse and apply legislation. If you would like to prepare the Application yourself, there are ways that you can do it, with a lawyer’s assistance, and without a large bill at the end.

I provide a DIY Parentage Order Legal Advice Package. It allows you to complete the Application yourself, and have me as your personal guide through the process. The Package includes:

  1. A 30-minute Skype Consult to advise you on the Application process and everything you need to get you started;
  2. A tailored DIY Parentage Order Tip Sheet, outlining the Application requirements in your State and what you need to do to complete your Application;
  3. Once you have completed the Application and Affidavits for your Application, I will read, review and provide advice for any amendments, and to get you ready to submit your Application to the Court.

If you would like to know more about the DIY Package, you can contact me any time in the lead up to your baby’s birth, or shortly afterwards. No matter where you are in Australia, I can help you prepare your own Parentage Order.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Gift Giving in Altruistic Surrogacy Arrangements

By |2018-12-29T01:19:27+00:00November 29th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, Blog, laws, surrogacy, surrogacy process, surrogate|

Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Australia. Altruistic surrogacy arrangements are legal – that’s where the surrogate receives no material benefit, reward, payment or inducement in exchange for carrying a baby for someone else.

One of the first questions asked by surrogates and intended parents, is whether the intended parents can give gifts to their surrogate, or her family members, without compromising the surrogacy agreement or the Parentage Order application.  And what sort of gifts might be ok, and what might be considered a reward or inducement? The answer is complex!

The legislation can be interpreted very broadly, such that even the gift of a massage voucher or a bunch of flowers could be seen as a material benefit or reward for the surrogate. So how do intended parents look after their surrogate, support her through any treatment and pregnancy, and show their appreciation without crossing over into illegal territory?

The laws are designed to prevent commercial arrangements, involving women who are inspired to be surrogates for promise of payment. The law is not designed to punish people who accept gifts of love, friendship, appreciation and support.

A good rule of thumb is to act as you would if you were to give a gift to any other friend. Gifts that are not cash, such as massage vouchers, flowers, ready-cooked meals, movie tickets and dinner vouchers are unlikely to be considered by any reasonable person as an inducement or reward for surrogacy. And surrogates are unlikely to be enticed to go through the challenges of pregnancy simply for the promise of a free movie ticket!

Cash deposits into a surrogate’s bank account are a bit trickier. In some States, not all, it is acceptable for the surrogate to be reimbursed for loss of wages due to the surrogacy treatment, pregnancy or birth and postnatal period. Loss of wages might be paid into the surrogate’s bank account in periodic or lump sum payments. If this applies to your arrangement, you should ensure that the amounts deposited correspond to evidence of the lost earnings, such as evidence of payslips or a record of reduced work hours.

For other reimbursements, such as the cost of prenatal supplements, or travel costs, consider direct payments to the clinic, or giving your surrogate a linked debit card that she can use to purchase pregnancy-related items.

So what about bigger gifts, or “push presents” (that’s a gift given to a woman to celebrate her having pushed out a baby!). Whilst a massage voucher might alleviate a pregnant woman’s sore back, it’s hardly an inducement to be a surrogate. What about bigger gifts, like electrical appliances, a holiday, or some nice jewelry? Again, the legislation is clear that surrogates should not receive material benefits or reward for being a surrogate. But is a gift of love and appreciation a reward, or inducement, or material benefit of surrogacy? You should exercise both caution and common sense. And if in doubt, get legal advice.

Intended parents worry that if they give any gifts to their surrogate could compromise the surrogacy arrangement and that the Court could refuse to make the parentage order. The laws provide that the Courts can refuse to make a parentage order if the arrangement looks to be a commercial transaction. And surrogates can be prosecuted if they have broken the law and received payment for being a surrogate. Some things to consider:

  • The police are pretty busy with solving other crimes and don’t have time to worry too much about whether your surrogate received a spa package as a reward for carrying your baby;
  • The Courts are most concerned with the baby’s best interests, and whether making the parentage order would be in the baby’s best interests. If all the criteria are met for a parentage order, the Courts are unlikely to refuse to make the Order simply because the surrogate received a gift from the intended parents.
  • There have been no prosecutions that we are aware of, of a surrogate who accepted gifts from the intended parents.

If in doubt, you should contact your lawyer. Our advice: be kind, exercise common sense, and remember: if it looks like a commercial arrangement it probably is. If it looks like a gift of love and friendship, it probably is.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Overseas Surrogacy

By |2018-12-29T01:19:42+00:00November 22nd, 2018|Categories: America, Blog, Canada, laws, overseas, surrogacy process, Ukraine|

Do you need an Australian lawyer to assist you with your overseas surrogacy journey? The short answer is, probably not. You can engage a lawyer in your destination country, who will guide you through the Surrogacy and Donor Agreements. You may like to ask an Australian lawyer to review the Agreements as well, but remember that Australian lawyers are not experts in overseas surrogacy laws, and they’re also not insured to practice in overseas jurisdictions.

After the baby is born, the agency and lawyer in your destination country should facilitate the process to have the birth registered. Most countries now allow the intended parents to be listed on the Birth Certificate, even where there is no genetic connection between the parents and the baby. An Australian lawyer is not required for this process.

To bring the baby to Australia, you will need to apply for either Australian citizenship by descent, or a permanent visa for the baby. Again, you do not need an Australian lawyer to facilitate this process. Many intended parents have completed the process on their own, often online, and with assistance from Australian embassy and immigration officials. For more information, visit the Australian Department of Home Affairs www.homeaffairs.gov.au. You may be required to complete DNA testing, and you can expect to provide copies of the Surrogacy Agreement as part of the application.

Much has been written about Australian family laws and recognising parentage of children born through overseas surrogacy. At the time of writing, it is unlikely that an Australian family court will grant a Parentage Order in those circumstances. Parents through overseas surrogacy are often anxious that the lack of recognition places them in precarious position when it comes to accessing services and being recognised as the parents of the child. In practice, there is usually nothing to be concerned about. Parents of children through overseas surrogacy can apply for a passport, Centrelink benefits, Medicare benefits and enroll their child in childcare and school, without needing a Parentage Order. The legal process to apply for the Order is expensive and very often, no Order is granted. My short advice is: don’t fix it if it’s not broken. Spend your money on your new baby, not more lawyers.

You might be interested in information about Surrogacy Brokers – chances are, you don’t need one of those either.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Applying for a Parentage Order

By |2019-01-09T02:53:23+00:00November 15th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, Blog, interstate surrogacy, laws, parentage order, parenthood, surrogacy, surrogacy process, surrogate, written agreements|

After a baby is born through an Australian surrogacy arrangement, a Parentage Order is required to transfer parentage from the surrogate and her partner to the intended parents.

When the baby is born, the surrogate and her partner register the baby’s birth in the State where the baby is born. They can register the baby with a name chosen by the intended parents.

The surrogate and her partner are listed as the baby’s parents on the birth certificate.

Once the birth certificate is issued, the intended parents must apply for a Parentage Order (also called a Substitute Parentage Order). They apply to a Court in the State where they live. The purpose of a Parentage Order is to transfer parentage from the surrogate and her partner, to the intended parents. This has the effect of providing an Order that recognises the surrogacy arrangement, and who the true parents are. The Order also tells the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in the surrogate’s State, to re-issue the birth certificate with the parents listed, instead of the surrogate and her partner.

For the Court to grant a Parentage Order, the intended parents will need to provide evidence of the surrogacy arrangement, and that the surrogate and her partner have relinquished care of the baby to the parents. This is usually provided by way of Affidavits from each of the intended parents and the surrogate and her partner.

The Court will need to see evidence that the parties received legal advice and counselling prior to the pregnancy. In some States, post-surrogacy counselling is also a requirement of the Parentage Order.

You should refer to the legislation in the state where the intended parents live to understand the requirements that apply to you.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Traditional Surrogacy

By |2019-01-13T06:06:03+00:00October 28th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, Blog, egg donation, surrogacy process, surrogate, traditional surrogacy|

Traditional surrogacy is where a surrogate uses her own eggs to conceive, with sperm from an Intended Father or from a donor. It is different from gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate becomes pregnant with an embryo created with an egg from the intended mother or an egg donor. Traditional surrogacy is legal in every State of Australia except the ACT, and there is no surrogacy legislation in the Northern Territory.

Many fertility clinics will not facilitate a  traditional surrogacy arrangement, however it is worth contacting them to find out. Clinics in Victoria cannot facilitate a traditional surrogacy arrangement. This leaves home insemination as the only option. However, whilst the conception is all arranged in private, the parties still need to go through the process of counselling and obtaining legal advice beforehand.  A Parentage Order cannot be obtained after the birth unless all the pre-conception requirements are met.

Traditional surrogacy is less common than gestational surrogacy, due to the availability of IVF and egg donors. Surrogates are often more comfortable not being genetically related to the baby. And whilst traditional surrogacy does not usually involve an IVF Clinic, it is not something to pursue simply to save on expenses. If you are seeking an egg donor, you might like to join Egg Donation Australia.

Sarah was a traditional surrogate and is aware of how complex and rewarding it can be. It is a different experience to gestational surrogacy, and should not be entered into lightly. If you are interested in discussing your surrogacy options, you can book a consult with Sarah below.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Book an initial 30 minute consult

Click here to book!

Surrogacy Laws in Australia

By |2018-12-29T01:24:11+00:00October 21st, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Blog, laws, surrogacy, surrogacy process|

Are you exploring your options for growing your family through surrogacy? Below is an overview of Australian surrogacy laws as they stand today.

Surrogacy in Australia is regulated in each State, which means there is no uniform law that covers 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 (also called a Substitute 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 re-issued with the new parents listed, instead of the surrogate and her partner.

The applicable laws are those in the State where the Intended Parents live. Click here to see a Comparison Chart of State Surrogacy Laws.

Surrogacy arrangements in Australia are regulated by State legislation. If you have a child born through international surrogacy arrangements, the Commonwealth Family Law Act applies.

The intended parents and the surrogate and her partner must obtain independent legal advice from separate lawyers. If a written agreement is required, parties might draft their own agreement, but it is not valid unless a lawyer has provided advice and all parties have signed the Agreement.

In all States, everyone should obtain independent legal advice before attempting to become pregnant. This applies to both gestational and traditional surrogacy arrangements.

If you are considering international surrogacy, you should consult a lawyer in your destination country.

Contact Sarah today and have a chat about how the Australian surrogacy laws affect you.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Altruistic Surrogacy: How Much Will it Cost?

By |2018-12-29T01:24:59+00:00October 14th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, Blog, costs of surrogacy, surrogacy process|

Intended parents are always keen to know how much surrogacy will cost them. There are so many variables depending on individual circumstances, so it can be hard to give an exact answer to that question. Intended Parents should expect to cover the expenses incurred by the surrogate and her partner in relation to the surrogacy arrangement, pregnancy and birth. You will need to get specific legal advice about what costs the intended parents must cover under the relevant State legislation, as it varies greatly.

You can expect the surrogacy in Australia will cost anywhere from $15,000 to over $100,000. The major variable is the cost fertility treatment, which will depend on what sort of treatment you require, and the success of any treatment and when the surrogate falls pregnant.

The costs you can expect will include:

Fertility treatment– this will depend on how many cycles are required, whether donor eggs or sperm are required, and the success of the treatment. Medicare rebates are not available for surrogacy arrangements and this will impact in different ways.

Legal Advice – Lawyers’ fees might be an hourly rate, or a fixed fee. Lawyer fees vary considerably and depend on a number of factors, including whether you need a written agreement. You should compare quotes beforehand, and seek out lawyers who specialise in surrogacy law. Intended parents need to cover the cost of their own legal advice as well as that of their surrogate and her partner.

Counselling and Psychological Assessments – some fertility clinics provide counselling as part of their service. For the most part, however, counselling and psychological assessments are provided by independent counsellors specialising in surrogacy.

Pregnancy and Birth – Surrogates are eligible for Medicare and public healthcare, just as if they were having their own baby. Medical costs that are not covered by Medicare need to be covered by the intended parents. This includes private health insurance, private healthcare and hospital fees as appropriate. It also includes medication and treatments that might be required during the pregnancy and birth.

Parentage Order – After the baby is born, the intended parents need to apply to Court for a Parentage Order to recognise them as the legal parents and to change the Birth Certificate. This can involve lawyers, and further counselling.

Other costs that might be payable, depending on the State legislation and individual circumstances, include:

  • travel costs (fuel, parking fees, train tickets) for the surrogate and her partner to attend for treatment, or for pregnancy appointments;
  • life insurance for the surrogate;
  • loss of income for the surrogate and her partner for days they need to take off for appointments related to surrogacy, pregnancy and birth;
  • non-medical treatment such as massage, naturopathy and acupuncture for the surrogate;
  • prenatal supplements.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Written Surrogacy Agreements

By |2018-12-29T05:56:00+00:00September 25th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, Blog, laws, surrogacy process, written agreements|

Surrogacy arrangements can be written into formal Agreements between the surrogate and her partner, and the intended parents.

Some states require surrogacy arrangements to have a written agreement, whilst other States do not require it but the parties might be inclined to have one anyway.

A written agreement is not enforceable, other than where a surrogate might need to claim costs and reimbursement for expenses incurred during the surrogacy.

A written agreement can help ensure everyone is on the same page and there is less likely to be conflict or misunderstandings.

Written agreements should cover the requirements of a surrogacy arrangement, such as counselling and legal advice. They can also cover agreements about other matters, such as:

  • Pregnancy and birth care options;
  • What costs the intended parents have committed to cover;
  • How the intended parents will reimburse their surrogate for costs;
  • How the intended parents will support their surrogate and her family in times of need;
  • How the parties will communicate with each other;
  • How the parties might resolve issues and conflict as it arises.

Remember that even if an agreement is in writing, it is generally unenforceable unless it relates to reimbursing the surrogate for prescribed costs.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Episode 20: Sarah & Anna present at the Surrogacy Conference

By |2019-01-18T04:47:41+00:00August 28th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, finding a surrogate, interstate surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, surrogacy process|

Sarah and Anna presented this session to the Australian Surrogacy Conference in June. You’ll hear from Sarah with a broad overview of the surrogacy process in Australia, and then you’ll hear Anna talking about how to make connections and build strong foundations for a positive surrogacy journey within Australia.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Episode 14: Henry & Lisa

By |2019-01-18T03:26:40+00:00July 17th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, egg donation, fatherhood, finding a surrogate, motherhood, pregnancy loss, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, surrogacy process|

Henry & Lisa are well-known in the surrogacy community, both for their support of other intended parents and surrogates, but also for their senses of humour. In this episode, we chat about the upcoming birth of their baby, conceived through egg donation and surrogacy, and how they’ve traversed the infertility terrain.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Episode 8: Hayley

By |2019-01-18T03:24:54+00:00June 5th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, finding a surrogate, Surrogacy Podcast, surrogacy process, surrogate|

Hayley is a gestational surrogate, and she and her intended parents all live in WA. Not everything went smoothly in Hayley’s surrogacy journey, and particularly during the last trimester. Hayley has some great advice for anyone exploring surrogacy and for how to make sure you have a positive experience.

Hayley volunteers with Surrogacy Australia and organises regular surrogacy catch-ups in WA. If you are interested in finding out more, join the Australian Surrogacy Community on Facebook and go to familiesthrusurrogacy.com

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

Episode 1: Introducing Sarah

By |2019-01-18T01:44:44+00:00April 5th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, finding a surrogate, gay dads, infertility, ivf, motherhood, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, surrogacy process, traditional surrogacy, victoria|

In this first episode of The Australian Surrogacy Podcast, you’ll hear from me, Sarah Jefford, and about why I decided to make a surrogacy podcast.

I am a surrogate and a surrogacy lawyer living in Melbourne with my family. In 2015 I decided to become a surrogate, and in January 2018 I gave birth to a baby girl, Darcey, for her two dads Mike and Nate.

You’ll hear all about my journey to becoming a surrogate, as well as about me as a surrogacy lawyer.

 

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford. I’m a surrogacy, fertility and family lawyer. I’m also an IVF Mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for her Dads in 2018.

I promote positive, empowered altruistic surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

You can get in touch with me through the options below.

Contact Me

PO Box 366, Batman VIC 3058

Phone: 0400481703

This Is A Custom Widget

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.