Ukraine

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Kickin’ back with the Kickbacks

By |2019-02-06T01:40:44+00:00February 4th, 2019|Categories: America, Blog, Canada, costs of surrogacy, overseas, Ukraine|

Intended Parents may be forgiven for thinking that everyone they talk to about surrogacy has their best interests at heart. If someone seems kind, knowledgeable and generous, surely they’re only wanting to help you have a baby, right? But, surrogacy is an industry like any other, and not everyone who seems helpful is looking out for your interests.

There are overseas surrogacy agencies who pay commissions to consultants and brokers who refer intended parents to them. Consultants come in many forms – they may also be intended parents, fertility specialists or lawyers. And you know, I don’t have a problem with consultants making money for the work they do. I do have a problem with people preying on vulnerable intended parents, and I do have a problem with people not declaring that they are receiving commissions from the organisation they are referring to. This is a conflict of interest, if they’re making money for referring you to an agency and not telling you about it – do their interests lie with you, or the agency?

So, for the savvy intended parents, I have some tips to help you make informed decisions when considering overseas donor and surrogacy arrangements. Rest assured, this post won’t make me popular and it won’t make me any money.

  1. Cast the Net Wide
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    Research far and wide about all the surrogacy options. There are lots of agencies and clinics in various countries, and not all of them will be the right match for you. Surrogacy is a marathon, not a sprint, and you should commit several months to researching the options and gathering information to make a final decision. Best practice arrangements involve known donors and a relationship with your surrogate. The Agencies should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of their fees and expenses, and candidly answer your questions about surrogate recruitment and screening, fees, insurances, timelines, processes and contracts. If they dodge your questions, they may not be right for you. If their promises seem too good to be true, they probably are.
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    The Australian Surrogacy Podcast shares stories from intended parents who have pursued surrogacy overseas and in Australia. The podcast episodes are another source of information about overseas options, from intended parents who have been there, done that. You should also seek out intended parents at events and on forums and ask them for their personal experiences.
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  2. Ask the Question
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    If you are meeting with someone (anyone!) to discuss donor and surrogacy options, be assertive and ask if they are receiving commissions, including co-marketing fees or benefits from any other organisation. If they say “You should try Agency ABC” you should ask “What is your relationship with Agency ABC? Do you have a business relationship with them? Do you receive money for referring people to them?” Some consultants only work for one agency or clinic, and they will openly declare their interest. My rule of thumb is that if someone is up front about their interest, then they’re more likely to be honest with you. They should not be interested in your business ‘at all costs’ and should be happy enough to see you go elsewhere if they are not the right match for you.
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  3. Go Direct to the Source
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    One good option is to avoid consultants and brokers altogether, and go direct to the source. Agencies and Clinics will offer Skype consults direct with them, which means you can get the information direct from the horses’ mouth and know that no one is benefiting from your business but them. It’s worth emailing them direct and asking to meet with them.
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  4. Watch Out for the Slag-Off
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    If someone is criticising agencies or clinics, consider whether they have a vested interest in you not choosing those agencies or clinics. Go back to Number 2 and ask the question. Go to the source and ask the question. Take a criticism with a pinch of salt and use it to inform how you research that option further.
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  5. Speak to other Intended Parents – and ask the Question
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    Other intended parents are an amazing source of information, and have often done a tonne of research themselves. They can provide reassurance about the process and advice about the challenges and successes. They can even provide advice about what to take on the plane and where the best hotels are. But some intended parents are also receiving kickbacks – and good for them. But if they are referring you to their agency or clinic, ask them if they’re receiving a benefit for the referral. They should be declaring their interest to protect yours.

Personally, I don’t do kickbacks. I don’t receive any commissions or fees and I don’t have any special relationships with clinics or agencies. I promote positive, altruistic arrangements in Australia, and I’m interested in informing and empowering intended parents to make decisions about their options overseas. You can ask me any question and I’ll answer it honestly.

My last piece of advice is that you should be careful not to let the baby lust take over from logic and learning. It can be exciting to dream of the baby you will be bringing home; but if you want a positive, informed, smooth journey, you need to work at it and that takes time. Get ready  to run a marathon and it will pay off.

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

Overseas Surrogacy

By |2019-02-12T03:10:46+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, mostly 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. 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. And for extra precaution, make sure to read my blog post about Consultants and commissions.

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

Parenting Orders and Parentage Orders

By |2018-12-29T01:21:33+00:00November 5th, 2018|Categories: altruistic surrogacy, America, Australia, Blog, Canada, laws, overseas, parentage order, Ukraine|

Parenting Orders are often made when parents are separated and need to formalise the arrangements for where the children will live and who they will spend time with. These are made in the family law courts.

Parentage Orders are made to transfer parentage from a surrogate and her partner, to the intended parents. These are made in State Courts. These Orders provide for the Birth Certificate to be changed, removing the surrogate and her partner, and replacing their names with those of the intended parents.

In Australian domestic surrogacy arrangements, the appropriate Orders are Parentage Orders.

In some international surrogacy cases, intended parents may choose to obtain Parenting Orders to recognise both parents as having parental responsibility for the child, once they return to Australia. This is generally not necessary where both the intended parents are already listed on the Birth Certificate.

Click here to see a Comparison of Parentage and Parenting Orders.

You may be told that you must have a Parenting Order if you had a child through international surrogacy. This is often not the case. Parenting Orders can only be obtained if you have evidence of the surrogacy arrangement, and can provide evidence that the surrogate and her partner consented to the Order being made. The Parenting Order application process can be complex, time-consuming and expensive – if you don’t need to do it, why would you bother? But if only one (or neither) of the Intended Parents is listed on the Birth Certificate, Parenting Orders can provide acknowledgement that the intended parents have parental responsibility of the child (and that the surrogate does not), and can assist with accessing services such as Medicare and Centrelink.

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

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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.