The Lobby welcomes the QLD Government’s decision to decriminalise altruistic surrogacy. The Family (Surrogacy) Bill 2009 allows the legal parentage of a child born in surrogacy agreements to be transferred from the birth mother to the intended parent/s, including same-sex couples.

The Lobby is particularly pleased the bill includes a comprehensive list of reasonable costs that can be paid to the birth mother. Intended parents can be clear about what they can reimburse a surrogate mother for, without risking criminal charges.

We are, however, concerned with part of the bill that prohibits advertising for prospective surrogates. The bill states a person faces up to three years imprisonment if they publish an advertisement or other material that induces or is likely to, or seeks a person willing to act as a birth mother, or states a person is willing to agree to act as a birth mother or enter into a surrogacy arrangement. These provisions unduly limit the possibility for altruistic surrogacy arrangements.

As well, the bill does not include a mechanism for recognising surrogacy arrangements entered into overseas. Such a mechanism is particularly important for male same-sex couples.

When a child born of this type of arrangement returns to Australia, as there is no parenting presumption in favour of sperm donors, the child may be not be recognised as the child of the intended parents, or as an Australian citizen.

Currently altruistic surrogacy is lawful in NSW. To ensure greater legal certainty and stability, especially for a child, a legal mechanism for the transfer of legal parentage needs to be established, which would be federally recognised under the Family Law Act, taking into consideration the issues of reasonable costs, advertising, and overseas surrogacy arrangements.

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