Surrogacy & Co-Parenting. What You Must Know

Surrogacy & Co-Parenting. What You Must Know

In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page discusses surrogacy and co-parenting and their difference.


Stephen Page from Page Proven Family and Fertility Lawyers, and I’m talking about surrogacy and coparenting, what you must know. The starting point about this topic is there’s a difference.

You’re either going to be a parent through surrogacy or you’re going to be a co-parent, you’re not going to be both, do not confuse the two, just don’t confuse them. When people who haven’t had kids come to me, they’ve thought of a number of options about how they can become parents.

Usually the option of the old fashioned way evades them for one reason or another, it might be because of sexuality, it might be because of fertility issues, whatever, and they start looking then at what are the other options? One of those is co parenting, and that may involve two or more intended parents, one of whom gives birth, and all of them in some way or other, caring for the child, very complex, and if you’re going to do it.

You got to do a lot of planning to make sure it’s right and if you think about people who split up, those who split up where they spent a lot of time together, stable relationship, thought about how they want their child to grow up, go to school, goals in life, etc.

Those marriages or relationships, when they bust up, tend to be fairly low conflict and everyone knows, the parents know together what they want to achieve for their child. By contrast, those who’ve had a one night stand and have no connection at all with the other parent, say that on one night they happen to get drunk and conceived a child, what happens with those matters?

Well, I’ve had several of those that have litigated, I think the longest was 11 years on and off in the family court. Train wreck. So if you’re doing co-parenting where you’re not living in a relationship with the other parent, you’ve got to do this planning right because you want to make sure that if something goes awry, that it’s as low conflict as possible and it’s not in the second category where you end up in the hands of lawyers like me and constant debilitating conflict that just eats at the soul and at the bank balance.

So co-parenting is quite different from surrogacy. Surrogacy is you have someone else have a child for you, act as a substitute for you. So that’s what surrogate is, it’s actually a substitute or a replacement to have the child for you and hand the child over to you.

A surrogate is not intended to be a parent. A surrogate might be a parent as a matter of law until there’s a transfer of parentage, but it’s not intended on a permanent basis. Whereas a co-parent, you have an ongoing relationship with the other parent or parents forever. Your relationship with the surrogate whilst joyful, I hope, after the child is born is completely different because her role, at least in a formal sense, has ended. She’s given birth to the child, handed over the child, and got on with life.

Whereas the co parent, ongoing relationship. So surrogacy and co parenting, I think, are different options, and they’re on the spectrum of what can be achieved when you want to become parents, and another one, of course, is via adoption, which is rare because there aren’t many kids available for adoption.

But these are the options available to you and as I said, surrogacy and co-parenting are not the same concept, they’re quite different concepts. Finally, if you want to know about surrogacy, go and have a look at my book, When Not If: Surrogacy for Australians. You’ll find it on my website, and also the Page Provan website.

It talks about my professional journey and my personal journey through infertility and surrogacy. But much more importantly, it’s chock full of information about surrogacy, you’ll be amazed how much there. Go and have a look. Good luck.

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