Celebrating 30 years since I first advised about surrogacy

It is hard to believe (and makes me feel very old) but it is now 30 years since I first advised a client about a surrogacy matter. I remember that first case very well. My new client came into my office in suburban Brisbane and told me: she had been paid $10,000 by a couple… Read More »Custom Single Post Header

Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
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Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board

Celebrating 30 years since I first advised about surrogacy

It is hard to believe (and makes me feel very old) but it is now 30 years since I first advised a client about a surrogacy matter.

I remember that first case very well. My new client came into my office in suburban Brisbane and told me:

  • she had been paid $10,000 by a couple to have a baby
  • she had had the baby
  • she wanted to know could she keep the money and the child?

After I picked up my jaw, I looked up the law. These days it is a few clicks on the computer, but back then it was looking up the statute book. I recalled that legislation had passed in Queensland shortly before that which criminalised all surrogacy, near or far, commercial or altruistic- wherever it was in the world, if it involved Queenslanders.

And what happened?

I told her she could keep the money and the child because:

  • the contract was illegal- therefore the money lay where it fell, i.e. with her.
  • she had a 50/50 chance or better of success in the Family Court, if it ever got there, as she was the mother ( this is what is now known as traditional surrogacy). 
  • chances are that it would never go to court, because there was a risk of referral to police for prosecution. 

As far as I am aware, it never went to court. She won. That baby has for many years been an adult, and probably has his own children. I wonder if he has been told of his story?

Since then I have helped over a thousand clients have children through surrogacy, gone on to advise about egg, sperm and embryo donation, and regulatory issues for the IVF industry. I have had clients in every State and Territory of Australia- from downtown Sydney and Melbourne, to the Pilbara and coal mines of Queensland. My overseas clients have come from 28 countries- from as far afield as Solomon Islands, China, Russia, Dubai, US and Switzerland. My clients have considered or undertaken surrogacy in places I would not have dreamed of (and at times have recommended against): Iran, Bangladesh, Nigeria, US, Canada and Greece, for example.

But the greatest joy for me has been to assist intended parents achieve their dreams and become parents, and to represent the extraordinary women – egg donors and surrogates- help the intended parents in bringing love and new life into the world.

Things to Read, Watch & Listen

Legal Parentage After Domestic Surrogacy Arrangements

Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page presented a paper at Growing Families’ National Conference Day Sydney.

Legal Aspects of Donation and Surrogacy in Queensland

On 11 June 2022, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page presented a paper at Monash IVF Qld Clinical Day regarding the legal aspects of donation and surrogacy in Queensland.

The Decline of Inter-Country Adoption

Our Director Stephen Page was honoured to be interviewed by London family lawyer Yasmin Khan-Gunns about her proposed essay on the decline of inter-country adoptions.