Surrogacy Lawyers Brisbane
For many people having a child is one of the most difficult challenges they will face in their relationship. It’s estimated about one in nine Australian couples of reproductive age will experience fertility problems. For about two in five couples, issues such as the man’s sperm motility is the problem, while for another two in five couples, the woman’s reproductive system is the issue.
For these reasons both individuals and couples who want a child will seek out surrogacy and donor options to realise their dream. But the complexity of the law around these arrangements can prove a hindrance rather than a help.
Surrogacy and donor arrangements, whether they be organised in Australia or through someone based overseas, raise a number of legal issues without straightforward answers, particularly given the variation in law between jurisdictions both here and overseas.
Fertility issues, therefore, require expert independent legal advice from lawyers with knowledge and experience of the legal environment governing surrogacy and donor arrangements.
In Australia, this niche is largely neglected but for a few law firms, including Surrogacy Lawyers Brisbane. We proudly claim one of the longest track records in helping individuals and couples along their fertility journey, assisting them to create surrogacy and donor arrangements, and ensuring parental rights are secured.
How Surrogacy Lawyers Brisbane can help you
As in other areas of society, misleading and incorrect information circulating around the internet can make the mission to become parents even harder for some people. As a result, they can embark on a course of action that leads to disappointment and regret.
Because of the complexity and uncertainty of parts of the law in regards to fertility, it’s important for those who wish to use a surrogate or a donor to achieve a pregnancy to put their trust in legal practitioners with real-world experience on this topic.
Surrogacy Lawyers Brisbane has an impressive record providing our clients with accurate, honest and up-to-date advice on their options. We’ll guide you through important steps in making either a surrogacy or donor agreement, including putting you in the picture about how long it can take and ensuring your parental rights as intended parents are protected.
To do we rely on expertise gained from years providing advice to people seeking to experience the joys of parenthood.
Our team of understanding professionals will help you withstand the highs and lows of the fertility journey by making the path as smooth as possible.
What to understand about surrogacy
Asking a woman to carry a child on behalf of intended parents is obviously a very consequential matter, requiring expert legal advice before entering into any surrogacy arrangement.
In Australia the law permits ‘altruistic’ surrogacy, meaning a surrogate who carries a child for intended parents with no expectation of financial return. Commercial surrogacy is not permitted under state laws of Australia.
A surrogate, however, can have expenses in relation to surrogacy, pregnancy and birth covered by the intended parents.
Once the child is born the surrogate parent (and her partner) are listed as the parents on the birth certificate. A court order is required to legally transfer parentage to the intended parent/s of a baby born under a surrogacy arrangement in Australia. Intended parents must also meet certain requirements under state surrogacy laws and a court may refuse the order if those requirements are not met.
Problems can arise because surrogacy agreements are not legally enforceable – either party to the arrangement is able to change their mind before a court order transferring parentage. This means a surrogate mother may choose to keep the baby, despite earlier agreeing to provide it to the intended parents.
It’s in such situations that knowledgeable legal advice is essential, and why any surrogacy arrangement needs careful drafting. While the document is not strictly enforceable, its existence can prove crucial in a later dispute between the intended parents and the birth mother by providing insight into the actual intention of the parties.
Surrogacy Lawyers Brisbane has advised more than 1700 Australians on surrogacy arrangements over many years, and can ensure parties to the agreement enter into it with their eyes wide open.
Such arrangements may cover a traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate mother conceives using donor sperm from an intended father or a donor to fertilise her own eggs, or a gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate carries an embryo created from an egg provided by the intended mother or another donor.
To overcome fertility problems many people seek a donation of eggs, sperm and even an embryo to fulfil the dream of parenthood.
Like surrogacy agreements, arrangement with donors are not legally enforceable in Australia but the fact a document exists, again, is evidence of the intentions of the parties in the event of a later dispute about parental rights.
Donors are contacted in a number of ways. Most commonly an individual or couple will find a donor among close friends or perhaps acquaintances met through groups designed to help those experiencing fertility issues. In other situations, a donor may be sourced through the contacts of a fertility clinic.
In either situation, the arrangement should be formally documented with the assistance of experienced lawyers. Rights, obligations and reasonable costs of donor and recipient can all be addressed in the agreement, along with important issues such as the health history of the donor; any genetic conditions; predisposition to illnesses; whether the donor will play an ongoing role in the child’s life; and the mediation or dispute resolution procedures to be used should there by a disagreement as a result of the donation.
How do surrogacy and donor arrangements work with people based overseas?
People experiencing fertility problems may find it difficult to source a surrogate or donor within Australia and have more luck in other, more populous nations.
Those who find a surrogate or donor need to be aware that international arrangements can be considerably more complex due to the different legal requirements in Australia and in foreign countries, not to mention the place of international human rights treaties.
Thankfully Surrogacy Lawyers Brisbane has an established track record in facilitating international agreements for clients with surrogates and donors in over 30 countries around the globe.
We can advise on the best way to navigate laws in multiple jurisdictions to form an international agreement with an overseas donor or surrogate. International law, the domestic surrogacy laws of other countries, and Australia’s state and Commonwealth laws must all be taken into account.
In Queensland, NSW and the Act, for example, residents are not permitted to enter into commercial surrogacy arrangements with citizens of foreign countries. Commercial surrogacy is defined as ‘the provision of a fee, reward or other material benefit or advantage to a person for the person or another person’ in the relevant NSW Act, for example.
Adding to the complicated picture, intended parents under an international surrogacy arrangement do not gain an automatic right to be recognised as the child’s legal parents under Australia’s Family Law Act 1975.
Moreover, the resulting child who has one genetic parent who is an Australian citizen does not automatically gain Australian citizenship. The child may be naturalised by descent after an application by the parents, a process requiring evidence the child is the biological child of one of the intended parents.
Intended parents who reside in an Australian state that does not recognise an international commercial surrogacy arrangement must also be aware a state court may reject their application.
Brisbane Surrogacy Lawyers is well-versed in all potential situations involving international arrangements, meaning we’ll provide expert guidance to those who source an international surrogate or donor.
The importance of specialist legal advice
Surrogacy and donor arrangements can be hugely time-consuming, expensive, and fraught with disappointment. But a successful journey to parenthood is obviously also highly rewarding.
Relying on legal advice from professionals who’ve guided thousands of clients through the highs and lows of becoming parents through surrogacy or donation is the wisest way to approach this issue.
We help our clients to avoid the legal minefields and pitfalls that can attend fertility law.
If any of the issues raised on this page raise questions or concerns, give the understanding team at Surrogacy Lawyers Brisbane a call to organise an initial consultation where we will assess your situation with compassion and empathy.
Page Provan are privileged and honoured to help parents do the best they can by their children – whether it’s in their quest to become parents, or in separation issues such as dealing with their former partner as to where their children live and when children spend time with each of their parents.