Surrogacy is where a woman carries the foetus on behalf of a couple or a person. Once the baby is born, the surrogate returns the baby to the parents that she carried the baby for. Surrogacy is a very complex process and it is important that all parties seek counselling and legal advice.
In some states a surrogate’s eggs can not be used to conceive a child, so there is no genetic link between the surrogacy and the resulting baby. In other states this is not the case. Where the surrogates eggs are used this is known as ‘traditional surrogacy’. Where the female of the couple egg’s are used this is known as ‘gestational surrogacy’ as there is no genetic link between the surrogate and the resulting baby.
Generally speaking surrogacy is used when the female of the couple is unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term. Where IVF has failed to achieve a conception or the female has a health condition that prevents her from conceiving or carrying a pregnancy. It is also used by male same sex couples who would like to have a family.
Couples are responsible for finding their own surrogate. Paid surrogacy is illegal in Australia. In some states it is illegal to advertise for a surrogate, or to advertise surrogacy services. You will need to check your local laws.
Treatment costs vary depending on your circumstances and your IVF provider. Currently, Medicare does not provide any rebate for surrogate IVF procedures.
When the child is born it is legally deemed to be that of the birth mother; couples will need to check information on local laws around transferring legal parentage.