Surrogacy Laws Australia
Surrogacy is legal across most of Australia. Surrogacy must be altruistic (unpaid). Commercial (paid) surrogacy is illegal.
Are you exploring your options for growing your family through surrogacy? Below is an overview of Australian surrogacy laws as they stand today.
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.
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. The VARTA website in Victoria is also a great resource.
Surrogacy laws have now been introduced in the Northern Territory. There has been recent law reform in Victoria and South Australia, and is expected (hopefully soon) in Western Australia. You can read more specific information about surrogacy laws in each State on the Blog.
Surrogates are usually over 25 years old. In Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, a surrogate does not need to have had her own child before becoming a surrogate.
Tasmanian intended parents must have a surrogate who lives in Tasmania.
Victorian and Western Australian intended parents must have a surrogate who has previously given birth, unless exceptional circumstances are involved.
Surrogacy in Australia is regulated in each State, which means there are no uniform laws that cover surrogacy across the country. Surrogacy laws in all States follow the same basic principles:
· The Intended Parents must have a medical or social need for surrogacy – that is, they must not be able to either conceive or carry a baby themselves, or if they can, to do so would be risky. Read more about whether you qualify for surrogacy. You should check the laws in your State to see who can access surrogacy, as this varies State to State.
· The surrogate maintains her bodily autonomy throughout the pregnancy. The parties will have agreements about pregnancy and birth plans, however the surrogate can make the final decisions when it comes to her body. Surrogate’s experiences of giving the baby to the intended parents are amazing.
· The surrogacy arrangement must be altruistic. Commercial surrogacy is illegal in all States in Australia. This means the surrogate and her partner cannot be paid for carrying a baby for someone else.
· While surrogacy is altruistic, the intended parents must cover the surrogate’s expenses in relation to surrogacy, pregnancy and birth. Read more about the costs of altruistic surrogacy.
· When the baby is born, the birth is registered in the State where the baby is born, with the surrogate and her partner listed as the baby’s parents on the Birth Certificate. After the birth, the Intended Parents can apply to the Court for a Parentage Order in the State where they live. The Order transfers parentage from the birth parents to the intended parents. The Birth Certificate is then re-issued with the new parents listed, instead of the surrogate and her partner.
. In all States, everyone must obtain independent legal advice before attempting to become pregnant. This applies to both gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy arrangements.
The laws that apply are those in the State where the Intended Parents live. The chart below shows the laws as they apply in each State.
Legislation Comparison Chart
If you are considering going overseas, you can read more about international surrogacy options. More information is available on the Smart Traveller website.
Sarah has written a book, More Than Just a Baby: A Guide to Surrogacy for Intended Parents and Surrogates, which is the only guide to surrogacy in Australia.
Make sure to download your free copy of the Surrogacy Handbook to find out more about the processes and laws in Australia, and listen to the Surrogacy Podcast.
Sarah offers free initial consults for women who are considering becoming surrogates.
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.