South Australia Lower House passes Surrogacy Bill

South Australia Lower House passes Surrogacy Bill

On Wednesday night, South Australia’s Lower House passed the Surrogacy Bill 2019. The Bill now goes to the Upper House, where it is likely to be debated next week.

The Bill, which was the subject of a conscience vote, passed with only 5 MP’s voting against- but with a change which requires any intended parent undergoing surrogacy in South Australia to pass a police check. I have previously blogged that I thought that such a change was not needed.

The point of the checks was to avoid there being another Baby Gammy case. The proposed change occurred at the same time as Victoria was looking at dropping the criminal checks altogether.

The Bill if passed will bring a Queensland or NSW style Surrogacy Act into South Australia- with flexibility in expenses of the surrogate being able to be made, and for the first time allow single intended parents to be able to access surrogacy in South Australia. I am strongly in favour of the Bill being enacted.

Currently South Australia’s surrogacy laws are contained in the Family Relationships Act, an Act that also deals with parentage presumptions.

South Australians will for the first time not be forced to undergo IVF in South Australia, but can choose to do IVF anywhere. While this at first seems that the sky is the limit on where they want to go, in relaity it is more restricted. This is because there are formal requirements of the doctor that are needed to make the surrogacy agreement a lawful one. Therefore any choice of having a doctor outside South Australia has to be met by the warning that the doctor’s actions will ultimately be accepted by a judge of the Youth Court of South Australia. If they’re not, then the court will not make an order transferring parentage to the intended parents.

There have now been three inquiries recently about this topic in South Australia:

  • an inquiry by the South Australian Law Reform Institute- about how the law treats LGBTI people- including as to ART/surrogacy. The review recommended removing discrimination against LGBTI and single people with surrogacy. The former occurred, but not the latter. I made submissions to the inquiry.
  • a review by Professor Sonia Allen about ART.
  • a further inquiry by SALRI about surrogacy/ ART which recommended many changes. I made submissions to the inquiry, and was referred to many times in the inquiry report. 

Following the last inquiry, the Attorney-General Vickie Chapman circulated a draft Surrogacy Bill for comment and response. My made submissions about the draft Bill, including that IVF did not need to be restricted to SA in surrogacy cases. I am delighted that my submissions were listened to. 

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QLD Parliamentary Submissions ART Bill 2024

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