Surrogacy laws were enacted in the Northern Territory in 2022. In July 2023, the first surrogacy baby was born for Northern Territory intended parents, and they were successful in applying for a parentage order in the months afterwards.

The Surrogacy Act 2022 provides for altruistic surrogacy for Northern Territorians, in line with other states and the ACT. This is big news! The community has campaigned for surrogacy laws for several years, including Rebecca who has been lobbying the government for reform so that she can be a surrogate herself. This has huge ramifications for intended parents and surrogates in the Northern Territory and I’m pleased it’s finally been addressed.

Some key aspects of the Act include:

  • Guiding principles that stipulate that surrogates must be able to make free and informed decisions, protected from exploitation and she should not be financially disadvantaged.
  • A surrogate maintains her bodily autonomy just as any another pregnant person.
  • The Act provides for the surrogate and her partner’s expenses to be covered as they relate to the surrogacy arrangement.
  • Commercial surrogacy is illegal.
  • The surrogate and the intended parents must all be over the age of 25, and each must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This is consistent with South Australian’s surrogacy law, but is problematic for anyone who is in Australia on a visa, or is a New Zealander living in Australia. Think this isn’t a problem? I know of many Kiwis who have lived in Australia for many years who will not be eligible under this legislation. In reality, this means people will continue to go interstate to utilise surrogacy laws that meet their needs.
  • It will be an offence to provide services that assist a person to enter a surrogacy arrangement. This includes introducing people who are looking to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, or arranging or negotiating a surrogacy arrangement.

Congratulations Territorians and welcome to the club!

If you are new to surrogacy, 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.

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.

Looking for a surrogate and not sure where to start? We Need a Surrogate – What’s Next? And if you have a surrogate or intended parents, you can get started on the surrogacy process.

You can read a broad overview for surrogacy in Australia and how it works.

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.

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.

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