It’s been awhile since I’ve done a surrogacy and fertility news bulletin. COVID has dominated our news so much in the last year that not much else makes its way through. But we’re back! If you’re looking for a one-stop place for all your fertility, donor conception and surrogacy news, here it is.
The Northern Territory government has committed to introducing surrogacy laws this year – the ABC reported widely on the announcement. This is big news for intended parents and surrogates in the NT, who have long-campaigned for law reform. The NT is the only remaining Australian jurisdiction that does not have surrogacy laws.
Meanwhile, in Melbourne, reports that many women who freeze their eggs to preserve their fertility do not return to use them in the future. Many fall pregnant naturally, or decide not to have children. Researchers at the University of Melbourne found that fewer than 20% of women who freeze their eggs return to use them. Some specialists are calling for the unused eggs to be donated to people who need an egg donor.
The cost of IVF is prohibitive for many people, as journalist and surrogacy-born Alice Clarke is finding out first hand: Private IVF costs tens of thousands and people’s dreams.
A Brisbane man is being investigated by VARTA for breaching the family limits on donations, with 23 children born with his help in one year. Alan Phan, a 40-year-old from Brisbane, has been providing sperm both privately and through registered clinics in order to help out people wanting to become parents
Surrogacy laws in New Zealand are set to be introduced in the future. Intended parents and surrogates in NZ currently have to rely on outdated adoptions laws to facilitate their arrangement.
In Ireland, the government is under pressure to introduce new and comprehensive laws on surrogacy, including to allow for altruistic surrogacy only at domestic level and greater legal oversight on all surrogacy arrangements, according to a new report by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection.
The BBC series The Surrogates was available to view earlier this year on Youtube, and one story was highlighted in various news articles. Caitlin Cotton carried a baby as a surrogate for her boss, Kate, and their story was shown during the series. A mum-of-two has given birth to her boss’s baby, after offering to be her surrogate.
Meanwhile, back in Australia, Sydney dads Jack and Josh shared their story with surrogate Fiona, who delivered their daughter Ari in Newcastle. The team were featured in the Nambucca Valley News. You can also follow their story and see sweet Ari over on Instagram.
In international surrogacy news, Queer Eye’s Tan France And His Husband Rob Are Expecting Their First Baby Via Surrogate, leaving fans of QE and Tan and his partner very excited.
The COVID pandemic has limited travel for everyone, and for intended parents with embryos stored overseas this has presented a new set of challenges. Hopeful parents may have created embryos with the help of a donor in IVF clinics overseas, with the hope of travelling to the embryos to undergo a transfer. However, now that borders are closed and travel is limited, they have very few options. If the embryos were created with donors who were paid commercially, and/or are anonymous, they cannot be imported to Australia. With embryos stored abroad, Australia’s travel ban means prospective parents face losing out on pregnancies.
Sarah Dingle, ABC journalist, discovered she was donor-conceived when she was 27 years old. She began a decade-long search, digging through hospital records, chasing leads and taking a DNA test to find her biological dad. Along the way she unearthed stories of the grim reality of the fertility business: hospital records routinely destroyed, trading of eggs and sperm, women dead, donors exploited, and hundreds of thousands of donor-conceived people globally who will never know who they are. Sarah has written a book, Brave New Humans, the Dirty Reality of Donor Conception, published by Hardie Grant. Sarah spoke to Richard on the ABC Conversations podcast about her experience and the book.
If you are interested in surrogacy here and overseas, you can find more information in the free Surrogacy Handbook, reading articles in the Blog, by listening to more episodes of the Podcast. You can also book in for a consult with me below.