Are you a single man or gay couple and wanting to know your options for surrogacy?
Surrogacy is achievable for gay and single men in most parts of Australia. I was a surrogate for a gay couple in Melbourne, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Surrogacy is an arrangement between the intended parents and the birth parents, whereby a woman carries a baby with the intention that the intended parents will be the parents to that child. There are two types of surrogacy – gestational surrogacy, which involves an embryo created with an egg from one of the intended parents or a donor, and traditional surrogacy which involves the surrogate’s egg. Both types are legal in most parts of Australia.
Altruistic surrogacy is the only legal type of surrogacy available in Australia. A surrogate can be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses but she cannot receive a payment, fee or reward in exchange for being a surrogate.
Commercial surrogacy is practised overseas in several countries, and that involves the intended parents paying the surrogate a fee, on top of her expenses, for carrying a child for them. Commercial surrogacy is illegal across Australia. Many intended parents travel overseas for surrogacy, but you need to get legal advice about the processes and options.
Single men and gay couples can pursue surrogacy in almost all States – unfortunately Western Australia only allows single women and heterosexual couples to engage in surrogacy, which means overseas surrogacy is the only option for single men and gay dads in WA, unless they relocate to another State. We are optimistic that the laws will be reformed soon. You can read more about State surrogacy laws in Australia.
If you are interested in pursuing surrogacy within Australia, altruistic surrogacy is all about the relationship. About half of surrogacy arrangements involve pre-existing relationships (friends or relatives) while the other half involve ‘new’ relationships – that is, people who have met with the purpose of entering into a surrogacy arrangement. You can read more about finding a surrogate in Australia, and this post which includes an interactive chart.
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.
Once you have an offer from someone willing to be your surrogate, you can then proceed through the surrogacy process, usually starting with a fertility clinic.
If all of this seems a bit daunting, that’s understandable. You can listen to the Surrogacy Podcast, which includes stories from surrogates and intended parents. Episode 1 is me – I carried for gay dads, whilst episode 2 is my intended parents Mike and Nate. There are other stories involving gay dads who pursued surrogacy in Australia or overseas.
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 Surrogacy Handbook. You’ll find some great support at the Gay Intended Dads Facebook Group.
You can also read more about international surrogacy options. You can find more information in the free Surrogacy Handbook, reading articles in the Blog, by listening to more episodes of the Surrogacy Podcast. You can also book in for a consult with me below, and check out the legal services I provide.
Sarah has written a book, More Than Just a Baby: A Guide to Surrogacy for Intended Parents and Surrogates, the only guide to surrogacy in Australia.