Surrogacy in Australia or US: Which is the Best?

Surrogacy in Australia or US: Which is the Best?

In this video, Page Provan Director and award-winning surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page, breaks down the surrogacy process in Australia versus the United States. 



G’day, I’m Stephen Page from Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers, and today I’m talking about a comparison between doing surrogacy in Australia and doing surrogacy in the US. If you’re doing surrogacy in Australia, typically the surrogate will be a friend or family member.

If you’re able to do surrogacy here, great, do so. I did, I think it’s wonderful. Do a local, do it cheaper, great IVF clinic, you get a state order that makes it beyond doubt that you’re a parent for the purposes of Australian law, wonderful.

You don’t have to travel overseas, the level of hassle is certainly much lower. I accept, of course, in Western Australia, but Western Australia is a special case. Western Australia is difficult and not available to single men or male couples.

But most people can’t do surrogacy here, only one in four Australian children born via surrogacy are born in Australia. Three out of four are born overseas and the number one destination is the United States. I think surrogacy is done really well in the United States.

It’s transparent, you get reams and reams and reams of paper, well, if you print it, it’s all PDFs. Retainer agreements with IVF clinics and lawyers and surrogacy agencies and egg donor agencies, and pleadings for court, and then court orders.

You get a lot, but it’s absolutely transparent. I think it’s well done, it’s very professional. The industry there has been running for over 30 years, they know what they’re doing. You still got to take care, it’s certainly a case of buyer beware.

There are about 300 agencies, so you’ve got to be very careful and I suggest come and talk to me about what agency to choose. The cost, however, is prohibitive for most people and I’ll come back to the cost, but in the United States, you’ll either get a pre-birth order or you’ll get a post-birth order, depending on the state.

You’ve got to be careful about the order, that it’s not an adoption order, because we have problems if it’s an adoption order or some types of adoption orders for Australian legal requirements. And we’ve got to be careful about commercial surrogacy rules and egg donor rules, so they don’t breach them.

So we have egg donor law issues in everywhere but Victoria and Tasmania and commercial surrogacy prohibitions are clearly applying overseas in Queensland, New South Wales, in the ACT, and with long arm laws in the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Western Australia.

So the cost. The problem about the cost, is it’s now about $300,000 from beginning to end, Australian, and most people can’t afford it. So, the US is certainly a destination I strongly recommend, I think it’s a really great destination for surrogacy.

But there are three risks with that, aside from that immediate cost. The legal risks, so you’ve got to be really across those and very careful with those, you’re walking through a legal minefield. The exchange rate, because as we know, that bounces around.

You could find the cost goes up considerably or maybe drops, and the third one is to make sure you have health care costs nail down, you have the right type of insurance. So, if you’re considering undertaking surrogacy in the US, you will likely match much quicker than you will in Australia.

If you want to find a surrogate yourself in Australia, you haven’t got one, you’re probably ballpark figure about two years to get there. In the US, you should be able to match with some agencies in under six months.

So it’s doable, it’s quicker than doing in Australia, but it’s a lot more expensive. If you’re considering looking at the United States, make sure you do it right, talk to me first before you go there. Thank you.

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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