Paige’s law enables Paige’s mum to be recognised

Paige’s law enables Paige’s mum to be recognised

Almost two years ago, Paige Harris was born via surrogacy in New Zealand. Tragically, just before she was born, her intended and genetic mother, Kat Harris, died. Paige’s birth certificate was issued “not recorded”, the only birth certificate to issue like that in NZ.

The reason that was allowed to occur is that New Zealand, like Australia, has a post-birth process for intended parents to be recognised as the parents of a child. If a pre-birth process had occurred, like it does in much of the US, such as Nevada, British Columbia, Ontario and South Africa and has been recommended for the UK in non-contentious surrogacy cases, then Kat Harris would have been automatically recognised as a mum.

To fix the immediate problem, New Zealand’s Parliament has passed a special law, which I’ll call Paige’s law, to enable this toddler to have her mum named on her birth certificate. Good on them.

In the words of the report by Newshub:

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the law change “helps a father and a husband fulfil a dying wish to his wife – and what is more important than that?”

Paige was being babysat on Wednesday by Renee Johnson, the surrogate mother, who carried and gave birth to her; and Renee’s husband Josh, who led the fight to have the name recorded.

Louisa Wall took it to the House.

“This legacy is for Paige, but Paige is providing a legacy for other children – and I think that is amazing,” she told Parliament.

The legacy – this promise to change the law for others.

“We need to change our surrogacy laws, and this example proves why. But they are complex pieces [of legislation], we want to get it right so you don’t have another situation like Paige’s family has shown us,” Ardern said.

The Prime Minister is wanting it done this term: “I would certainly hope so.”

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