How many surrogacy births are there in Australia each year?

There are about 115 surrogacy births in Australia each year. There are very few records of exactly how many surrogacy arrangements there are, and how many babies born via surrogacy, and how many Parentage Orders granted. The only centralised database of surrogacy arrangements is from ANZARD, which records the IVF treatment for surrogacy arrangements. Some of my own case statistics for 2021-23 are detailed in this article.

According to the Australia and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD), there were 100 surrogacy births in 2021 (see page 45 of the 2021 report) in Australia, where conception occurred in an IVF clinic. This does not include the traditional surrogacy births where the parties conceived via home-insemination.

The 100 births represents 36.5% of surrogacy embryo transfers that year – that means 36.5% of embryo transfers resulted in a live birth. If you are wondering ‘how many embryos do we need for a successful pregnancy?’ then this statistic suggests you should realistically expect to have at least 2-3 embryos.

I’ve kept records of my clients’ surrogacy arrangements between 2021 and 2023, which show that traditional surrogacy arrangements account for about 15% of surrogacy arrangements in Australia. So, we can estimate that there were another 15 traditional surrogacy births in 2021, bringing the total number that year to about 115.

What about babies born overseas?

According to the Department of Home Affairs, In 2021-2022, Australian passports were issued to 213 babies born via overseas surrogacy. The estimated breakdown of where those babies were born includes:

USA 99

Ukraine 49

Canada 21

Georgia 7

Colombia 7

Mexico <5

According to those figures, there are more babies born via international surrogacy than are born in Australia each year. Research by Monash University in 2023 documented the reasons why more intended parents pursue surrogacy overseas than in Australia. Intended parents far outnumber the women willing to be surrogates in Australia. It is illegal to advertise for a surrogate in most parts of Australia, making it difficult for intended parents to get the word out.  And, surrogacy in Australia is altruistic and I think it is easier to find a surrogate where compensated surrogacy is available than it is where we don’t get paid.

You can read about how to find a surrogate, or how to become a surrogate yourself. You can also download the free Surrogacy Handbook which explains the processes and options.

It would be better for everyone – the surrogate and her family, the child and the intended parents – if surrogacy can be done in Australia. We have access to excellent healthcare, a supportive legal framework and robust processes to ensure the wellbeing of everyone involved, and to protect the rights and welfare of the child and the surrogate. Rather than simply being critical of commercial surrogacy overseas, we need to encourage and support surrogacy within Australia where we can regulate it and take care of everyone.

You can read more about international surrogacy options and consider best practice surrogacy when choosing the right option for you and your family.

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 published a book, More Than Just a Baby: A Guide to Surrogacy for Intended Parents and Surrogates, the only guide to surrogacy in Australia.

Hi! I’m Sarah Jefford (she/her). I’m a family creation lawyer, practising in surrogacy and donor conception arrangements. I’m an IVF mum, an egg donor and a traditional surrogate, and I delivered a baby for two dads in 2018

I advocate for positive, best practice surrogacy arrangements within Australia, and provide support and education to help intended parents make informed decisions when pursuing overseas surrogacy.

more than just a baby

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