Registering the Birth of a Surrogacy Baby
Congratulations! The baby has arrived!
After the birth, registering the birth is the responsibility of the birth parents. As the birth parents, the surrogate and her partner must be listed as the baby’s parents on the original birth certificate.
The hospital will provide only one copy of the birth registration form. The hospital midwife or obstetrician will complete the birth details on the form, including the baby’s birth date, weight, length and sex. The form will then be provided to the surrogate to complete and file with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in the State where baby was born.
The surrogate and her partner will be listed as the baby’s parents. The intended parents can choose the baby’s first, middle and surnames. It is important that the child’s name is a true reflection of the name that the parties intend for them to have for life. You should not give the baby the surrogate’s surname unless you wish that to be permanent. If the child is registered with the wrong name, you will need to register a change of name before applying for a Parentage Order.
What if the surrogate is single?
If the surrogate does not have a partner, she should list her details as the birth parent. She will need to provide details to the Registry of the surrogacy arrangement, so that they understand why no other parent has been listed. A copy of the surrogacy agreement should be enough to satisfy the Registry staff. A letter from the IVF clinic, or the approval Certificate from the Patient Review Panel (for Victorian intended parents) may also be necessary to provide evidence of the conception.
What if the surrogate is in a same-sex female couple?
If the birth parents are a lesbian couple, they should be listed as the birth parents. As the Registry will likely ask for details of the conception if the surrogate is in a same-sex female relationship, you will need to provide a copy of the surrogacy agreement when filing the birth registration.
Can the intended genetic father be listed on the original birth certificate?
Under Australian law, a woman who births a child is presumed to be the child’s legal parent, and if she has a partner, they too are presumed to be a parent. In order to recognise the intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement, they must apply for a Parentage Order through their State Court. In order to effect a transfer of parentage, the Court needs to transfer parentage from the birth parents to the intended parents. If the intended father is listed on the Birth Certificate with the surrogate, then the Court may have difficulty making a Parentage Order transferring parentage from the birth parents to the intended parents, and in those circumstances may declare that the original birth record must be amended before they will make a Parentage Order.
My advice is that the birth parents should always be listed on the original birth registration unless you have received specific legal advice to the contrary.
You can also register for Medicare and Centrelink.
You can apply for the Parentage Order one month after baby’s birth, and the application will need to include a copy of the Birth Certificate. While you wait for the one month milestone and the Birth Certificate to arrive, enjoy the fourth trimester and the new baby!