Northern Territory moves towards having surrogacy laws: surrogacy forum TOMORROW

Northern Territory moves towards having surrogacy laws: surrogacy forum TOMORROW

UPDATE: We are pleased to announce that in late December 2022, the Northern Territory (NT) Government commenced the Surrogacy Act 2022 and Surrogacy Regulations 2022.

At long last, the Northern Territory is moving forward to having local laws about surrogacy.

Tomorrow at 1pm the NT Government is holding a public forum in Darwin to obtain public feedback about having laws in the Territory regulating altruistic surrogacy. Details of the forum are here. All are welcome.

For people in the Red Centre, the Government is holding another forum, this time in Alice Springs on Monday. Details of the forum are here. All are welcome.

A big gap in Australian law is that all the Australian States and the Australian Capital Territory regulate surrogacy, but the Northern Territory does  not. At least in theory, this means that anyone can undertake surrogacy there- and it could be commercial.

In reality, any surrogacy occurring in the NT is happening at home or overseas. I have acted for a number of Territory clients over the years who have gone overseas for surrogacy because they can’t do surrogacy at home. They contemplated doing surorgacy interstate, but this meant leaving their jobs and homes. It was too hard. It was much easier to pay some money and travel overseas for surrogacy. Earlier this year there was an advertisement in the NT News by a couple advertising for a surrogate.

Because there aren’t any laws in the Territory, the only IVF clinic in the Top End, Repromed, years ago made a policy decision not to do surrogacy. The reason why is obvious: because there is no lawful means to transfer parentage from the surrogate and her partner ot the intended parents. Imagine being a patient of Repromed and getting all the IVF, having a child being born through surrogacy, but then finding out you cannot ever be recognised as the parent! Who are you likely to blame?

Even worse, the failure to have laws in the Territory means that if someone in the Territory wants to be a surrogate for intended parents living interstate, she cannot give birth in the Territory. She will need to travel interstate- either by air very early in her pregnancy, or later in the pregnancy a potentially deadly trip over either the seemingly endless Stuart or Barkly Highways to get to somewhere else to give birth. Imagine a surrogate giving birth in the middle of the Outback, hours from any hospital,  at the side of the road in 40+ Celsius!

The sooner the Territory has laws regulating surrogacy, the better. Hopefully those laws will be consistent with interstate laws- as the House of Representatives inquiry recommended back in 2016 for all Australian States and Territories.


Things to Read, Watch & Listen

The Pope’s cruel take on surrogacy

“I’m beautiful in my way ’cause God makes no mistakes I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way” Lady Gaga I am outraged at the steps by the Pope’s call to stop surrogacy and be critical of LGBTQIA+ people.  It is no surprise, but it still saddens me. On Monday 8 April… Read More »The Pope’s cruel take on surrogacy

Understanding the Financial Risks of Surrogacy in the US for Australian Parents

When Australians think of going to the US for surrogacy, they often think that the risk is the legal risk.  In particular, if they come from the ACT, New South Wales or Queensland (although they can also apply in the NT, SA and WA), they’re worried about whether they might be committing a criminal offence… Read More »Understanding the Financial Risks of Surrogacy in the US for Australian Parents

The Cost of Adoption in Australia

In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Multi-Award Winning Lawyer, Stephen Page reveals the cost of adoption in Australia.

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