Did you hear? Rebel Wilson had a baby! Little Royce Lillian arrived via surrogacy, with Rebel announcing the birth and thanking her surrogate in an Instagram post.

I’m not a follower of celebrity news generally (who are the Kardashians?). But when a celebrity has a baby via surrogacy, it gets my attention. It also gets a lot of other people’s attention, seemingly – my phone didn’t stop buzzing and my website experienced the highest traffic in a year. While there was the expected attention to Rebel’s story and her journey to be a mum, much of the media attention was about surrogacy in Australia.

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.

The ABC ran a story about Rebel’s news, and highlighted the process for surrogacy in Australia. I took the opportunity to highlight the discrepancy in Medicare rebates for IVF treatments in surrogacy arrangements:

All expenses related to a surrogate pregnancy are paid out of pocket due to the fact that Medicare rebates do not apply to surrogacies.

“There is no rhyme or reason for that, it’s just how the Medicare guidelines were written,” Ms Jefford said.

“What that means on a discrimination level is that if I go to a clinic, I have a uterus and I want IVF they say ‘Yep, let’s put some eggs in the freezer    and we’ll get you your rebate’. If I’ve had my uterus removed because of illness? ‘Sorry, no rebate for you’.” 

The Sydney Morning Herald focused on the differences between altruistic surrogacy and commercial surrogacy, with a discussion about why we don’t have commercial surrogacy in Australia. We talked about the number of surrogacy arrangements here and overseas, and the fact that there’s more people exploring surrogacy internationally due to barriers here in Australia:

“I think marriage equality helped gay dads see themselves in the picture, and see surrogacy as an option for growing their families,” says Jefford, adding that about half of her clients are gay couples, and half are straight people who are experiencing infertility.

Weekend Sunrise ran a lovely segment, interviewing me and dad-via-surrogacy JR with his daughter Sofia. It was fun in the TV studio with JR and Sofia and being able to share our experiences with traditional surrogacy. We also talked about why intended parents might be heading overseas for surrogacy instead of trying to do it here at home. You can watch the clip below.

Later in the week I sat down with Tom Tilley and Rhianna Patrick to talk about surrogacy on the Briefing, Australia’s fastest growing daily news podcast. We talked about surrogacy in Australia, and whether commercial or compensated surrogacy should be introduced here.

A very big congratulations to Rebel and her family in welcoming Royce! I hope stories like this help to destigmatise surrogacy and help promote it as an option in Australia.

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 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.

more than just a baby

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