Rebecca is an intended parent, having come to surrogacy after the birth of her second child. Rebecca found her surrogate in her good friend Katy, after she posted about her journey on Facebook to update family and friends about their situation.
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.
I was a traditional surrogate and am aware of how complex and rewarding it can be. It is a different experience to gestational surrogacy, and should not be entered into lightly. I’ve written about my reflections as a traditional surrogate in the year after her birth. You can also watch the webinar below, with Doula Sheridon Byrne, where I talk about my experiences as a traditional surrogate.
In this episode, Sarah chats about the current Review in the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act in Victoria. Submissions are open now, and close on 21 September.
If you are interested in more information, or want to know more about Surrogacy Australia’s submission, contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Rebecca is a Darwin woman who would like to be a surrogate – but, as she’s discovered, the NT doesn’t have any surrogacy laws. This means it’s virtually impossible for surrogates or intended parents to have a baby in the NT, which forces intended parents to move interstate or go overseas. Rebecca is campaigning for surrogacy laws to be introduced in the NT, and you can help her by getting behind the campaign, signing the petition and liking her page NT Surrogacy Advocacy Group.
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.
Renee shares her second surrogacy journey with us, with different intended parents. Renee and her partner approached the journey with the benefit of their first experience, but they were met with many challenges along the way. Their friendship with their intended parents is strong, but as you’ll hear, surrogacy is about so much more than just having a baby.
Renee tells us the story of her first surrogacy journey, including the ups and downs that eventually resulted in the birth of Ethan for his intended parents. This is Part 1 of Renee’s story – stay tuned for Part 2 in a few weeks!
Gareth became a father through surrogacy in January 2018, with the birth of his son Rixon. Gareth’s surrogate was Jess, who was a great friend of Gareth’s wife, Bec. Sadly, Bec passed away during the pregnancy due to complications arising from cystic fibrosis. This is a beautiful and tragic story of Gareth and Bec’s story of becoming parents, and of Bec’s legacy.