Fertility Lawyers Brisbane
Issues around fertility are some of the most challenging an individual or couple will deal with in life, involving emotional and physical challenges on the journey to parenthood.
These challenges are often not helped by the complexity of the law on fertility, including surrogacy and donor arrangements. Whether the agreement relates to a surrogacy or donor arrangement within Australia, or one that has an international dimension, there are a number of important issues to consider to ensure the end result is within the law.
Arrangements on surrogacy and the donation of eggs, sperm and embryos can be complicated to understand given the law varies between jurisdictions and between here and overseas.
In summary, fertility is an area of the law that truly does demand expert legal advice from a practitioner with a proven track record and profound knowledge of the current legal environment.
It’s correct to say very few Australian law firms offer specialist expertise in fertility law issues but Fertility Lawyers Brisbane is one such firm. Our Brisbane surrogacy lawyers have helped thousands of clients to navigate the difficult issues involved in coming to a surrogacy or donor arrangement, both in Australia and overseas
Why specialists such as Fertility Lawyers Brisbane are important
This area of the law is often made even more uncertain by the amount of misinformation that can be found online on the subject. Those interested in finding a surrogate or a donor can be sent in the wrong direction or find themselves relying on incorrect information when making crucial decisions.
For this reason, consulting legal practitioners with proven experience advising clients on fertility is essential.
Brisbane Fertility Lawyers prides itself on giving clients relevant, accurate and current advice on their options and important steps required in making surrogacy and donor arrangements.
Our experience comes from many years guiding thousands of people on the path to becoming legally recognised parents.
Our team is made up of empathetic professionals who understand the highs and lows of our clients’ personal quests. Fertility Lawyers Brisbane aim always to be honest and upfront with those who seek our advice so that the rights of intended parents are foremost in any surrogacy or donor agreement.
Expert legal advice should always be sought before entering a surrogacy arrangement with a woman who agrees to carry a child for an intended parent or parents.
Only ‘altruistic’ surrogacy, where a surrogate agrees to help intended parents for no financial return, is permitted within Australia. The alternative option, commercial surrogacy, is not permitted under state laws of Australia.
In order for the legal transfer of parentage to the intended parent/s of a baby born under a surrogacy arrangement in Australia, a court order is required. Intended parents must fulfill certain requirements under state surrogacy laws before entering into a surrogacy arrangement. A court may refuse the order if those requirements are not met.
While surrogacy agreements are not legally enforceable, with the parties involved able to change their minds before the transfer of parentage by a court, any arrangement still needs to be the subject of a carefully drafted document completed after independent legal advice.
The existence of such a document can prove invaluable if there is a later dispute between the intended parents and the birth mother, as compelling evidence of the actual intention of the parties.
It’s important to note that a court can enforce the provisions in an agreement relating to the birth mother’s reasonable surrogacy costs.
Fertility Lawyers Brisbane has advised more than 1700 Australians on surrogacy arrangements, detailing rights and obligations for all parties to the agreement.
Whether the agreement relates to traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate mother uses donor sperm from an intended father or donor to fertilise her own eggs, or gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate carries an embryo created from an egg provided by the intended mother or another donor, Fertility Lawyers Brisbane will provide the right advice.
Similar to surrogacy arrangements, agreements with donors of eggs or sperm to help those dealing with fertility problems are not legally enforceable but still advisable.
Again, the intentions of the parties as reflected in the terms of the arrangement might later be important evidence in a subsequent dispute about parental rights.
Those seeking a donor generally do so in a variety of ways, from sourcing a close friend or associate, or perhaps from a recommendation through a fertility clinic.
An agreement should be worked out in either situation to reflect the rights, obligations, and reasonable costs of donor and recipient.
Some of the points to be covered in a donor agreement include disclosures about the health of the donor, potentially addressing genetic conditions, medical history and any predisposition to certain illnesses; any provision about the role of the donor in the child’s life; whether the donor will be known to the child; and how any disputes about parentage or any terms of the arrangement will be resolved.
Expert legal advice is highly advisable before entering into any agreement with a donor, in addition to other suggested processes such as counseling on the implications of a pregnancy involving a donor.
What about international arrangements?
Seeking a surrogate or a donor can be a frustrating process for many people. If an appropriate person can’t be found close to home, many people will look overseas to find a surrogate or a donor.
People who do so need to be aware that complying with legal requirements for parenthood to be recognised is more complicated for international arrangements.
Fertility Lawyers Brisbane has experience helping clients form arrangements with surrogates and donors in more than 30 countries around the world.
Our experience assists people to deal with the potential application of laws in multiple jurisdictions where an international agreement is entered into. International law and treaties, domestic surrogacy laws in other countries, and the variety of state-based and Commonwealth laws in Australia, must all be considered.
Residents of Queensland, NSW and the Act are forbidden from entering into commercial surrogacy arrangements with citizens of foreign countries. Surrogacy laws in Australian states generally define commercial surrogacy as ‘the provision of a fee, reward or other material benefit or advantage to a person for the person or another person’.
Intended parents in an international surrogacy arrangement do not gain an automatic right to be recognised as the child’s legal parents under Australia’s Family Law Act 1975.
A child born overseas with one genetic parent who is an Australian citizen also does not automatically become a citizen. Intended parent/s must apply for the child to be naturalised by descent. This process requires evidence the child is the biological child of one of the intended parents.
A further problem exists if intended parents enter into an international commercial surrogacy agreement reside in an Australian state does not recognise the surrogacy arrangement.
Brisbane Fertility Lawyers brings extensive experience and real-world knowledge of how international arrangements work, providing guidance to those who wish to enter into such agreements.
Seek specialist legal advice
The journey to parenthood through surrogacy or a donor is a time-consuming and sometimes stressful one. A lot of money can be spent by people keen to be parents without full knowledge of the possible pitfalls and setbacks.
Specialist legal advice from Brisbane lawyers with years of experience in fertility issues can help clients come to arrangements with surrogates and donors that help them avoid later legal problems.
Complying with Australia’s state and territory laws, and how those laws interact with Commonwealth and international laws, is something that Fertility Lawyers Brisbane provide professional expertise in.
For those with questions or concerns about any of the issues raised here, call the understanding team at Fertility Lawyers Brisbane for an initial consultation to help make the journey to parenthood as trouble-free as possible
Page Provan are privileged and honoured to help parents do the best they can by their children – whether it’s in their quest to become parents, or in separation issues such as dealing with their former partner as to where their children live and when children spend time with each of their parents.