One of the most complex issues in family law is surrogacy. Surrogacy refers to an arrangement where a woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth on behalf of another person who then becomes the child's parent. This article sheds light on the various issues surrounding surrogacy in Australia.
Reasons for surrogacy
Below are some of the reasons why people engage in surrogacy:
- If a woman has a health condition that makes it difficult for her to become pregnant or makes pregnancy extremely dangerous.
- If a same-sex couple wishes to have a child with the sperm of one partner.
- If a man wants to have children with the frozen embryo of a deceased partner.
- If a single man who wishes to have children opts to have surrogate children.
Key factors to consider when engaging in surrogacy
People intending to engage in surrogacy must understand its financial, emotional and legal implications. Below are some important considerations that they must make:
- The surrogate mother must be healthy and willing to bear the child on behalf of the other party or parties.
- The parties must openly discuss issues regarding the pregnancy and set boundaries to prevent conflict during the pregnancy.
- The parties must agree on the costs. For instance, who should cater for medical expenses?
- All parties must get counsel from a qualified family law solicitor. The solicitor will help them create a surrogacy agreement. This agreement should be in place before the surrogate becomes pregnant.
- The parties must understand the medical risks of surrogacy. For instance, fertility drugs may have serious side effects on the surrogate or expose her to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Family law and surrogacy
Different states have varying family law legislation regarding surrogacy. Most states only allow altruistic surrogacy. As such, it is against the law for the surrogate mother to receive compensation for agreeing to get pregnant. However, she may receive some money to cater for medical costs and provisions required during the pregnancy. If the surrogate comes from another country, then you should consult with the department of home affairs regarding the child's citizenship. The child's parents must also seek a parenting order from the Family Court of Australia. The parenting order transfers parental responsibilities from the surrogate to the child's biological parents.
Surrogacy gives people unable to bear children an opportunity to have children of their own. People intending to enter into surrogacy agreements must ensure that they follow the law. They should receive counsel from family lawyers and medical professionals.