It is a decade since Australia hosted its first conference on family formation options for infertile Australians, gay singles and couples. Since that time around 3000 infants have been born to Australians utilising surrogacy – around half this number to same-sex couples.

Back in 2011, most Australian gay intended parents were engaged in India, USA (and later Thailand). Many of these (including our family) now have children aged eleven or twelve. These kids are starting to hit puberty and teenage rebellion lies just around the corner.

The options have changed considerably since then. The global landscape is always changing. For example in Argentina, a new altruistic surrogacy program has opened which promises to reduce the pressure on over-subscribed programs elsewhere. In the USA, Covid-19 has had a significant impact on surrogate availability. There are huge differences in wait times depending on the US agency you engage with.

Surrogates And Egg Donors In Australia

Increasing numbers now work with surrogates and egg donors right here in Australia. From embryo transfers in 2019, the most recent year available, 73 babies were born via Australian surrogates. Over half of these are carried for gay singles or couples.

One of these is Sydney couple Will Reilly and his husband David. Will works for ACON, in the Pride and Inclusion team. On 18-19 June, Will, along with their surrogate Megan will be amongst 45 panellists talking at Australia’s 11th family building conference about the complexities of these arrangements – how to plan, budget and survive the hurdles. The weekend brings together surrogates from Australia, US and Canada, gay dads, older kids via egg-donor surrogacy and experts from around the globe.  It is a great opportunity to understand the foster and surrogacy options available and which might suit both the singles and couples.

Panels will feature parents who have completed their family in Australia and overseas as well as three pre-teens (one of them my daughter!) talking about identity, growing up with dads instead of a mum, telling friends at school and their relationship with their donor or surrogate. 

Tickets include networking drinks on Saturday night with parents, surrogates, donors and experts.

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