The Top 5 Places Australians Go for Surrogacy

In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page lists down the top countries Australians typically go to for surrogacy.

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The Top 5 Places Australians Go for Surrogacy

In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page lists down the top countries Australians typically go to for surrogacy.

We do not recommend that Australian intended parents go to any of the top 5 countries other than Canada and the United States.

Transcript

G’day. [It’s] Stephen Page from Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers. I want to talk to you today about the top five places Australians go to for surrogacy. And this isn’t my word. These are the statistics from the Department of Home Affairs, and you’ll see below there’s a link to my paper which sets out the numbers.

DOWNLOAD THE PAPER

But the numbers are these. This is for the period from 1 July 2018 through to 30 June this year. So it’s over several years. It’s not just something plucked out of the ether by me. And I’ll start with the bottom.

Number 5. The bottom country that Australians go to out of the top five is Thailand. And what we have seen in the last few years is about ten children a year are born entirely. Now, this is a surprising number one would think, because way back in 2014, we had the baby Gemi saga, and we also had the Thai baby farm saga.

Now, I’m not talking about the recent Georgian baby farm scandal where we had a couple have, I think, 20 children via surrogacy and they have 16 nannies. And the wife is saying we’re going to have 100 children, which would then say, Why would you ever go to the Republic of Georgia for surrogacy if they’re going to allow that kind of thing to happen?

Now I’m talking about Thailand, where we had Mr and Mrs Farnell, who were from WA, and they went to Thailand for surrogacy. Mr Farnell and Mrs Farnell forgot to mention that Mr Farnell had been convicted of a string of child sex offences. They go to the clinic and they say, “We want to be parents.” Sure. Give us your money. Go ahead with the deal.

And Ms Shambua was the surrogate, a Thai surrogate. She forgot to mention to the clinic that she improperly put her age up. And by the way, she wanted a boy. So she gets pregnant with twins.

And one is a boy called Gami after he was born. And one is a girl called Piper. The clinics say, well, Gami has some problems. He’s got down syndrome, and as a result of which, you should have an abortion. 

“No, we won’t contemplate that.”

The doctor said, “Go to China. Anything’s possible in China, just pay some money.” No, no, we won’t do that. When Gemmi was born, the Surrogate, Ms Shambua hung on to Gamei.

And as a result of which, Mr. And Mrs. Farnell returned to WA with Piper alone.

Subsequently, they ended up in the world’s media. They ended up in the family court of WA. It was all over the media. Everyone in the media seemed to interview me from all over the world. I had nothing to do with it. I was just the expert that everyone contacted.

And in any event, Tyler then said, We’re going to put a clamp down on surrogacy. We’re going to put Surrogacy laws in place. You have to be married. Heterosexual marriage. One of you has to be related to the surrogate and the surrogate can’t be paid.

It’s got to be altruistic. And yet from those numbers, knowing there aren’t many Thai people living in Australia, we still have ten children born a year from Thailand. 

What does that tell us? It tells us what I’ve learnt and what I’ve learnt from clients, and that is that Thai surrogacy still happens. But it happens crossborder typically with Cambodia, Laos, sometimes with Malaysia, sometimes with China.

It’s still happening. I certainly don’t recommend it, but nevertheless it’s still there. 

Number 4 country, and at some stages it’s been number three, but at the moment it’s number four is Canada. Canada is a safe jurisdiction and it’s certainly one of the countries I recommend. It’s altruistic, but we still got to take care from this end that it’s altruistic in accordance with our laws.

Number 3 country was one of the countries I just mentioned about a place not to go to – Georgia. Georgia typically has about 20 births a year, but in the least prior pandemic, there was a boom in the year-end of 30 June 21. There were 39 births there, which is slightly ahead of Canada, which was at 28. Ukraine is number 2, and this is pretty extraordinary because they have consistently been number two over that period.

Australians continue to go to Ukraine. Now I understand there have been issues with Ukraine undertaking surrogacy and Georgia, particularly in the pandemic. There are issues both in Ukraine and Georgia about surrogacy being commercial and therefore for people who live in Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, South Australia and West Australia, there are legal issues about undertaking surrogacy there because you may be committing an offence under local law. But nevertheless, it’s remain number two. It’s only available to Ukraine to heterosexual married couples, where there is a genetic link between one of them and the child, and similarly with Georgia.

But the number 1 country has consistently in that period has been the United States.

For every child born in the year 30 June 2021, and I should say this is an expense. I want to come back to that in Ukraine, there have been two born in the United States. There have been, by my calculations, 42 children born in Ukraine and 86 born in the United States. I say by my calculations because the most recent figures I have from the Department of Home Affairs end on 31 January and then what I’ve done is calculated out over the average over the year.

So those numbers again:
Number 1: United States
Number 2: Ukraine
Number 3: Georgia
Number 4: Canada
Number 5: Thailand

The US is the most expensive of those jurisdictions but is certainly the most trusted. In my next video I will be talking about why Australians go to the United States as opposed to doing it here and have some numbers about that, but certainly have a look at my paper the United States has the same issues in terms of commercial surrogacy. So you might be committing an offence if you’re from Queensland, New South Wales, Act, South Australia, Western Australia.

But above all, if you’re going to any of these places, get legal advice here.

And of course, I’d say get legal advice from me and my firm. Thank you. 

Things to Read, Watch & Listen

Legal Parentage After Domestic Surrogacy Arrangements

Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page presented a paper at Growing Families’ National Conference Day Sydney.

Legal Aspects of Donation and Surrogacy in Queensland

On 11 June 2022, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page presented a paper at Monash IVF Qld Clinical Day regarding the legal aspects of donation and surrogacy in Queensland.

The Decline of Inter-Country Adoption

Our Director Stephen Page was honoured to be interviewed by London family lawyer Yasmin Khan-Gunns about her proposed essay on the decline of inter-country adoptions.