Surrogacy and IVF

Then, Shih-Ning (2011) Surrogacy and IVF. In The Queensland Law Handbook : Your Practical Guide to the Law [11th edition]. Caxton Legal Centre Inc, Brisbane, QLD, pp. 264-267.

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While in the past surrogacy was illegal in Queensland, since June 2010 the Surrogacy Act 2010 (Qld) (“the Act”) has made altruistic surrogacy arrangements lawful in Queensland. In addition, it provides a mechanism for transfer of legal parentage from the surrogate to the person(s) wishing to have a child (the intended parent(s)). Commercial surrogacy – where a payment, reward or other material benefit of advantage (other than the reimbursement of the “birth mother’s surrogacy costs” (s11 of the Act) is made for entering into a surrogacy arrangement – remains unlawful. The paramount guiding principle underpinning the Act is that of the wellbeing and best interests of a child born as a result of surrogacy.

The Surrogacy Act 2010 (Qld) allows a single person or a couple (heterosexual or same sex couples) to enter into an agreement with a woman, and her partner (if she has one), to become pregnant with the intention that the child will be relinquished to the intended parent(s). The Act also provides a mechanism for the intended parent(s) to be legally recognised as the parent(s) of the child.

In order for the intended parent(s) to be legally recognised (via a parentage order, discussed below) it must be shown that the surrogacy arrangement was entered into when all the parties were over 25 years of age and the intended parent(s) are male or, in a heterosexual or lesbian couple the female(s) are not likely to conceive or give birth to a healthy child due to medical reasons. The arrangement must be entered into before the surrogate becomes pregnant and all parties must have obtained independent legal advice and counselling about the proposed arrangement, and evidence of this is required at the time a parentage order is applied for.

For the purposes of the Act it does not matter how the surrogate conceives the child or if the child is genetically related to the parties. During the period of the pregnancy, the surrogate has the right to manage her pregnancy in the way she wishes. Although she cannot profit from acting as a surrogate, section 11 states that she is entitled to surrogacy costs. These include, for example, reasonable medical costs related to pregnancy and the birth of the child; counselling and legal costs associated with the surrogacy arrangement; actual lost earnings because of leave taken during pregnancy or following birth and any reasonable travel expenses incurred.

The surrogacy arrangement itself is not legally enforceable; however, obligations to pay a surrogate’s surrogacy costs are enforceable unless she chooses not to relinquish the child to the intending parents. While the Act does not specifically deal with the situation where the surrogate decides she is unprepared to relinquish the child to the intended parents, there have been examples where parties have entered into these kinds of arrangements, and the arrangements have become difficult. For example, the Family Court case of Re Evelyn (1998) FLC 92–807 involved a child born to a surrogate mother who decided not to surrender her. The child was the genetic child of the surrogate mother and the husband of the couple who had contracted with the surrogate mother. Both sets of parents brought proceedings in the court, seeking that the child live with them. In hearing the application, the court applied the paramount principle of the ‘best interests of the child’. The court made clear that there is no presumption in favour of the birth mother, although in this case the court found that the child may be better placed with the surrogate mother’s family.

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ID Code: 46077
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Surrogacy, IVF, Law, Queensland
ISSN: 1836-6414
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Family Law (180113)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Caxton Legal Centre Inc.
Deposited On: 20 Sep 2011 22:24
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2016 15:09

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