The recent additions to Elton John’s and Nicole Kidman’s families via gestational surrogate has sparked a renewed interest in the process around the globe. We’re thrilled more people are being educated about family building options - but you may be surprised to learn that “compensated” surrogacy is actually illegal in some countries like Australia, where a law was passed in November to further deter prospective parents from considering this approach.
The NSW (New South Wales) Surrogacy Act threatens those who pay for a surrogate, either at home or abroad, with up to 2 years in jail and $110,000 in fines. It’s incredibly discouraging to see more roadblocks for people already struggling to have children – now, they risk facing prosecution for using alternative approaches. Many legal experts suspect the new law will ultimately cause people to lie about their children’s births in order to protect their families and are encouraging State Parliament to reconsider.
On a more promising note, a Family Court out of Melbourne, Australia recently granted a gay couple who have twins through surrogacy a major victory – full parental rights for the father not genetically linked to the children. Our hope is that this decision will pave the way for other same-sex parents in Australia and around the world to build their families using alternative options without fear and added stress. As Justice Paul Cronin pointed out, “As a matter of law, the word ‘parent’ tends to suggest some biological connection, but…biology does not really matter; it is all about parental responsibility.” He added, “In this case, the children do not have the benefit of a mother, but they have the good fortune of having two fathers.”
We couldn’t agree more.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.