surrogacy

/surrogacy

Pursuing Surrogacy as a Gay Dad

By |2019-03-04T01:49:03+00:00January 28th, 2019|Categories: Blog, finding a surrogate, gay dads, surrogacy|

The media is buzzing with news that Ian Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing, are planning to have a baby via surrogacy. Channing was quoted as saying that the couple were pursuing surrogacy in the US because ‘the laws in Australia are difficult for same sex males in regards to surrogacy.’

Whilst famous people having babies makes for good headlines, no one has checked whether what Channing said is true. For those of us who have carried a baby for a gay couple, his comments were a bit surprising. Gay couples considering surrogacy would be forgiven for assuming that surrogacy is difficult or impossible in Australia, and may head overseas without considering domestic options, or the ramifications of pursuing surrogacy overseas.

So, a fact check for a start – is surrogacy difficult for same sex couples in Australia? The truth is that surrogacy is challenging for everyone in Australia – same sex and opposite sex couples. The laws in almost all States apply the same to everyone, regardless of sexuality or marital status. Heterosexual couples face the same hurdles as same sex couples due to prohibitions on advertising for a surrogate, and the availability of surrogates, as well as restrictions on Medicare rebates. The one difference is Western Australia – WA surrogacy laws provide that only heterosexual, married couples can pursue surrogacy. That excludes same sex couples and singles. At the moment, the WA laws are under review and one criticism of the current law is that it prohibits same sex couples from accessing surrogacy. This pushes all West Australian same sex male couples to pursue surrogacy overseas. Does this apply to Thorpe and Channing? Well, Channing is from Perth, although it is reported that the couple live in Sydney.

So is it difficult to pursue surrogacy in Australia? Well, that depends on your perception and expectations. Surrogacy in Australia is based on relationships, rather than a transaction. And because it is relational, it can take a lot of time and commitment. There aren’t many women in Australia willing to be surrogates, and it is not normalised here as it might be in some other countries. There is no payment or reward for carrying a baby for someone else – the only reward is seeing them become parents. And as such, it can be quicker to pursue surrogacy overseas. There are enormous benefits for those that are able to pursue surrogacy within Australia, but the statistics are clear – only 50-60 babies are born via surrogacy in Australia every year, compared to almost 300 born overseas to Australians. But that doesn’t make it impossible – and certainly for those who are able to enter into a surrogacy arrangement within Australia, it’s very much worth the time and effort.

So how does surrogacy work in Australia?

Surrogacy in Australia is governed by State legislation, and each State has slightly different laws. All surrogacy in Australia must be altruistic; commercial surrogacy is illegal. This means the surrogate cannot receive payment or a reward in exchange for having a baby; she can however have her surrogacy-related expenses covered.

Some States take it a step further, criminalising commercial surrogacy overseas – NSW and Queensland laws provide that residents from those States must not pursue commercial surrogacy overseas.

There are also prohibitions on advertising for a surrogate in most States, which can be challenging for anyone to find a surrogate. There are options to find a surrogate, including social media and Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service. It is worth reading, researching and understanding the laws and the processes within Australia before considering overseas options.

Same sex male couples face the challenge of needing an egg donor, as well as a surrogate. Egg donation, like surrogacy, is altruistic in Australia, and most often egg donors are found either in family or friends, or via online forums such as Egg Donation Australia.

If you’re an aspiring dad and wondering about how it all works, what options are available to you and how to get started, you might be interested in downloading The Handbook. You’ll find some great support at the Gay Intended Dads Facebook Group. And you can book a consult with Sarah at the link below, when you’re ready to take the next step.

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!

One Year On

By |2019-01-21T10:43:39+00:00January 21st, 2019|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Blog, gay dads, motherhood, sisterhood, surrogacy, surrogate, traditional surrogacy|

Surro-baby, Darcey, turned one last weekend. Her dads threw her a party, of course, and like all first birthdays, it was more of an anniversary for the parents than it was a party for the baby. An anniversary of survival, of joy and frustration and tears (hers, theirs, and mine!) and love and learning about each other and the journey of parenthood. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, and relieved it’s not me living it!

So often in the last year, I’ve been asked about my surrogacy journey and specifically about my relationship with Darcey and her parents. So much of what we know about surrogacy is what we see in the media, and usually that’s based on commercial arrangements overseas. People are curious whether I still see Darcey, and whether I have a bond with her and what my relationship is with her parents. So, in light of it being my one year anniversary and Darcey’s first birthday, here’s my reflections on the last twelve months.

The first days after Darcey’s birth was a bit of blur of hormones and overwhelming joy and love. The oxytocin was flowing and we (Darcey’s dads, myself and my partner, Troy) were in a bit of a bubble of love. It was lovely! It was a bit overwhelming because I felt like there wasn’t a guide book for how any of us were supposed to feel or act. I also felt like a bit of a circus act, because we had lots of people sending their well wishes and demanding details of the birth and the surrogacy arrangement, and midwives at the hospital ‘checking in’ to see whether I was falling apart. We were relieved to leave the hospital and back to our own comfort zones.

The first weeks were a bit of a mixture of emotions and activity – Troy and I getting on with our home lives, getting the kids ready for kinder and school, and work, and me recovering from birth and expressing milk for Darcey. And of course, lots of visits with Darcey and her dads. I found these weeks a bit strange, and as I like to feel in control, that lack of routine or consistency was a little unsettling. I was rather sad that our surrogacy journey was ‘over’ and I didn’t want it to end, because I’d had such a lovely time. I even offered to carry another baby for them immediately. Let’s say, the oxytocin ride was amazing, but quite the rollercoaster!

The biggest frustration for me was not being able to drive, and my body not moving the way I wanted it to. I had a caesarean section, and whilst I knew intellectually that my body was recovering from major surgery, I was frustrated that I was sore and tired and slow. My youngest child was learning to ride a bike, and I couldn’t move fast enough to keep up. I had to keep reminding myself that I’d just had a baby, because part of my brain hadn’t caught up to reality. It is one of the amazing things about the body and the mind – of course I knew that I’d had a baby, but it didn’t stop me wanting to get back to normal as soon as possible. I’d never wanted to care for a newborn again, so why couldn’t I get back to my usual routine?

Over the next few months, it was like a gradual ‘weaning’ process for me and Darcey and her dads. In the early weeks we would see each other ever day, then every few days, and then once a week, and then once, sometimes twice a fortnight. They were enjoying their newborn, and I was finding my way as the ‘ex’ surrogate. What was my role, now that I wasn’t pregnant and had no job to do? It was also confusing, and sometimes confronting.  Sometimes I resent the impact that surrogacy has had on me and my family, knowing that they got the baby and I got…a postpartum body and hair loss. I’m still dealing with the hair loss, which bothers me more than I expected it to.

Even with lots of other things happening in my life, I still had lots of processing and thinking to do about the surrogacy, and the birth, and Darcey and her dads. I have access to an amazing surrogacy counsellor, Katrina Hale, who regularly debriefs with me about all this stuff, and I also had lots of support from other surrogates. Less than 60 surrogacy babies are born in Australia each year; having friends who understand the feelings and thoughts is so necessary and appreciated. Traditional surrogacy is all the more complex, and traditional surrogates are all the more rare.

During that time, I was able to put a lot of my creative energy into other things, including creating the Podcast, and organising the Surrogates Sisterhood Day. I also set myself a running goal, to run 10km at the Carman Women’s Fun Run in December. Having other things to focus on was really useful.

My relationship with Darcey’s dads has changed, and grown. I spent a lot of time in the early months second-guessing why they wanted to spend time with me, and sometimes I still do. I worry that they only spend time with me because I gave them a baby; that they feel they have a debt to repay. And they probably do feel indebted to me, but that’s not a good foundation for friendship. I remember feeling surprised that they seemed to like spending time with me; perhaps I thought they would stop once the baby was here? Katrina reckons there are two certainties with surrogacy – the surrogate worries that she will be abandoned. And the intended parents worry that she’ll keep the baby. I admit I was surprised when I fell into the cliche. These days we have a new normal; we spend time together as families and I babysit for Darcey occasionally. I still worry that there is a power-imbalance in our relationship; that they will forever feel they need to express their appreciation, and worry that they’ll ever offend me. I think most surrogates find the power-imbalance really uncomfortable.

As for my relationship with Darcey, it took me a while to realise that it is a journey and not a destination. I remember wanting to know what she would think of me when she’s 10, or 15, or 25. Would she know who I am? Would she recognise me? I would see her face and be struck by how familiar she seemed, as if I am surprised by the resemblance she has to me or my kids. Even now, when I see a photo of Darcey in my newsfeed, I draw breath. I know that face! Oh wait, of course I do, it’s Darcey. Katrina thinks it must be a primal response, which some donors and donor-conceived children also experience when they meet each other. Like we’re recognising ourselves in the other person, perhaps. But it took me a while to accept that it is a perpetual journey; that I don’t know what my relationship with Darcey will look like in the future, and that’s ok. I’ve found comfort in accepting that I have limited control over it, because I don’t have all the answers. And at some point she’ll decide what she needs from me and what our relationship is to be.

These days, I spend time with Darcey and her dads regularly. She’ll know me as Aunty Sarah, and of course she’ll know her story. But whilst I recognise her as being from me, and the baby I carried, I don’t feel like her parent. I don’t feel like I need to take on a parenting role for her. I don’t feel bonded to her the way I do to my kids. She looks for her dads when they leave the room – and I find that affirming, because I know her primary attachments are to the people who are her parents, just as we intended. My relationship with Darcey is different; more than an aunt-niece relationship, but not the same as a mother-daughter relationship.

The first birthday and the anniversary of me giving birth feel like two separate events, both worthy of reflection and acknowledgement. “It’s complex” is the best descriptor I can come up with. There is no box that any of this fits in. I feel some peace as we meet this milestone – this chapter  is closing, whilst the book is still being written. I have other things to focus on and surrogacy, whilst sometimes all-consuming, is not a career (unless you’re a surrogacy lawyer, of course!).

There have been multiple comments from Darcey’s dads over the year about how lucky they feel to have her in their lives, and plenty of people reflecting on how lucky Darcey is to have her dads. And I agree on both fronts. But in everything that we’ve been through in the past year, and how much we’ve shared over the past 3 years, I must say that I am the luckiest person. I am so privileged to have been a part of this journey and to be a part of Darcey’s life, and for her dads to have let me be part of theirs.

Surrogacy is incredibly complex, a perpetual journey, and moreso than I ever imagined. My life is richer and I am so grateful for it. There is such a special sweetness in participating in creation.

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

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

Do I need a Surrogacy Broker?

By |2018-12-29T01:18:03+00:00December 13th, 2018|Categories: America, Australia, Blog, Canada, overseas, surrogacy, Ukraine|

Surrogacy is bit like Project Management. In fact, by the time you’re home with your baby, you’ll feel like you deserve a PhD in international relations and event management. You did all that research, considered different Surrogacy Agencies, IVF Clinics, assessed the risks for different countries. Europe? Canada? The United States? And eventually you’ve chosen a county, a Clinic, an Agency…and negotiating a Surrogacy Agreement and creating embryos and…fingers-crossed…celebrating a pregnancy. And finally, finally, you travel to greet your baby and then start the process for bringing them home.

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. All credit to you, for navigating the exciting world of international surrogacy. I totally understand why you’d want to hand over all the research and decision-making and planning to someone else. Which is where, sometimes, a Surrogacy Broker steps in. They might not call themselves a ‘Broker,’ rather they’re often ‘Consultants’ and ‘Liaisons.’ But do you really need an extra set of hands to do everything for you? Or is it a case of too many cooks spoil the broth?

The fact is, if you are engaging the most reputable and experienced agencies and clinics, their staff should have a good handle on the situation. The agency staff liaise with the surrogate, egg donor, and the clinic, and they do a lot of the ‘project management’ in the destination country. They also recommend lawyers who know surrogacy in that country. They can guide you to the right places to obtain a passport and visas.  The fees that you pay the agency covers all their hard work in managing the arrangement on your behalf.

Some ‘Brokers/Consultants’ will try and convince you that you need them to assist, on top of the service you get from the agency and the clinic. And sure, they might take some of the work out of your hands. The catch is that you have to pay for their service, and I’ve heard quotes of more than $15,000 for these ‘consulting’ fees.

The questions you might ask yourself, in determining if you want to engage a Broker, include:

  • Does the Agency, Clinic and overseas lawyer already provide these services?
  • Are we ‘double-handling’ unnecessarily?
  • Can we do this work ourselves?
  • Is it worth the extra expense?

If you are confused and overwhelmed by the information and decision-making, you might like to talk to other intended parents who have traveled the overseas surrogacy terrain before you. You can find lots of information from those parents in Facebook Groups (such as The Australian Surrogacy Community) and specific-country Groups including ones for America, Canada and the Ukraine. You are not alone! Someone has been here and done that, and they can offer some assistance for you.

You might also find some helpful information on the podcast – specifically Felicity’s episodes (particularly Part 2) (US journey) and Hillary’s episode (Canadian journey). Brett and Stuart also traveled to Canada.

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

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

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

Episode 26: Renee (Part 1)

By |2019-01-18T04:51:51+00:00October 9th, 2018|Categories: Australia, pregnancy loss, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast|

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!

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 23: Rachel (Part 3)

By |2019-01-18T04:49:15+00:00September 18th, 2018|Categories: Australia, grief and loss, infant loss, interstate surrogacy, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, surrogate|

This is Part 3 of a 3-part episode with Rachel. In Part 3, we hear about Rachel’s final surrogacy pregnancy, with baby Matilda, for her parents Marian and David.

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 22: Steve

By |2019-01-18T04:48:33+00:00September 11th, 2018|Categories: endometriosis, fatherhood, infertility, interstate surrogacy, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast|

Steve is a father through surrogacy, and he and his wife Jen welcomed baby Holly in 2016. I interviewed Steve and Jen’s surrogate, Bec, earlier in the podcast. Steve reflects on his journey as an intended father, and managing the challenges of infertility, and surrogacy, particularly with an interstate surrogate.

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 15: Sarah and Sheridon

By |2019-01-18T03:27:14+00:00July 24th, 2018|Categories: Australia, gay dads, lgbt, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, traditional surrogacy|

Sarah sat down and chatted with Sheridon Byrne, a Melbourne-based Doula, to talk about Sarah’s surrogacy journey. Sheridon provides Doula services to the queer community, and we talked about how surrogacy can be an option to grow a family.

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 13: Marnie

By |2019-01-18T03:26:31+00:00July 10th, 2018|Categories: Australia, cancer survivor, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast|

Marnie is a cancer survivor and is now considering surrogacy as an option to grow her family. Marnie has some great insights for people considering surrogacy and leaning on the friendships you can build in the community.

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 12: Kate

By |2019-01-18T03:26:21+00:00July 3rd, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, finding a surrogate, gay dads, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, surrogate|

Kate is a gestational surrogate for a gay couple, Mike & Glenn (listen to their story at Episode 10). Kate is due to give birth any day now, and in this episode you’ll hear all about her plans for a positive surrogacy birth and postnatal period.

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 11: Hillary

By |2019-01-18T03:26:14+00:00June 26th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Canada, cancer survivor, induced lactation, motherhood, overseas, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast|

Hillary survived cancer as a single mother, and when she met her prince charming years later, they decided to grow their family through surrogacy.

I am always inspired and humbled when I hear stories from women who have often gone through infertility, loss or survived cancer before turning to surrogacy. Hillary went through so much, and her tenacity and strength is amazing.

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 10: Mike & Glenn

By |2019-01-18T03:26:05+00:00June 19th, 2018|Categories: Australia, gay dads, lgbt, parenthood, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast|

Mike and Glenn pursued surrogacy overseas, but after hitting roadblocks and ultimately not having any success, they turned to Australian surrogacy – and are now eagerly awaiting the birth of their daughter, with the help of egg donor Cass, and their surrogate Kate.

You will hear Mike and Glenn mention a few things in this episode, which might pique your interest:
You can find the Australian Surrogacy Community and Egg Donation Australia on Facebook.
You can also find Shannon Garner’s book about Australian surrogacy, Labour of Love, in all good bookstores and online.

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 7: Carla (Part 2)

By |2019-01-18T03:24:45+00:00May 29th, 2018|Categories: Australia, gay dads, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, traditional surrogacy|

This is Part 2 of my interview with Carla. Carla talked about her journey as an egg donor in Part 1; in Part 2 she tells us how she leaped from egg donation into 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

Episode 6: Felicity (Part 2)

By |2019-01-18T03:24:27+00:00May 22nd, 2018|Categories: America, Canada, infant loss, infertility, motherhood, overseas, pregnancy loss, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast|

This is Part 2 of my interview with Felicity. Felicity is a parent through surrogacy in the US after suffering infertility and loss.
Make sure to listen to Part 1 first!

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 6: Felicity (Part 1)

By |2019-01-18T03:24:17+00:00May 22nd, 2018|Categories: America, Canada, chronic illness, grief and loss, infant loss, infertility, motherhood, overseas, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast|

This is Part 1 of my interview with Felicity, a parent through surrogacy. Felicity and her partner suffered with infertility, miscarriage and the loss of her baby daughter Lily, before eventually having a child through surrogacy in the US.

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 5: Rhiannon

By |2019-01-18T03:24:08+00:00May 15th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, gay dads, sister, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, surrogate|

In this episode you’ll hear from the sensational Rhiannon, who was a gestational surrogate for her brother and his partner not once, but twice – and is planning on doing it again!

Listen now to hear how Rhiannon took her Aunty duties to a whole new level, all the while single parenting her own three kids and with the support of her interstate intended parents.

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 4: Bec

By |2019-01-18T02:06:41+00:00May 8th, 2018|Categories: infertility, ivf, motherhood, parenthood, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast|

In this episode, I speak with Bec. Bec was a gestational surrogate and gave birth to Holly in 2016, for an interstate couple. Bec speaks with candour and humour about her journey and has lots of insights for intended parents and surrogates alike.

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 3: Troy

By |2019-01-18T01:58:52+00:00May 1st, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, Australia, fatherhood, gay dads, infertility, ivf, parenthood, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, surrogate partner|

In this episode of The Australian Surrogacy Podcast, I interviewed my husband, Troy, about his experience as the partner of a surrogate. I was often asked what Troy thought of me being a surrogate, so this week I thought it would be good to hear from Troy himself.

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 2: Mike & Nate

By |2019-01-18T01:48:06+00:00April 16th, 2018|Categories: Australia, gay dads, infertility, ivf, surrogacy, Surrogacy Podcast, traditional surrogacy|

In this episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing my intended parents, Mike and Nate, about their surrogacy journey and becoming dads to baby Darcey.

Mike and Nate started talking about having children on their second date, and they considered a few different options before committing to surrogacy in Australia. It was another 5 years before they welcomed Darcey, and you’ll hear about what they went through to become dads.

I might be a bit biased, but I think they’re pretty special and it was lovely chatting with them and reflecting on our journey together.

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

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.

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.