Sur­ro­gacy is in need of a sin­gle na­tional law

Central and North Burnett Times - - READ -

SUR­RO­GACY laws in Aus­tralia are a mine­field, ac­cord­ing to sur­ro­gacy lawyer Sarah Jef­ford.

Ms Jef­ford said the laws dif­fered from state to state and were dif­fi­cult for a lay per­son to nav­i­gate.

“I find in­tended par­ents might be chat­ting to a po­ten­tial sur­ro­gate not re­al­is­ing that they or the sur­ro­gate aren’t el­i­gi­ble,” she said.

“The state where the in­tended par­ents live is where the laws are ap­pli­ca­ble.

“For ex­am­ple, in Vic­to­ria the law is the treat­ment must be done in Vic­to­ria. I see par­ents travel to Queens­land for the treat­ment and hope they can ob­tain a parent­age or­der in Vic­to­ria. It doesn’t work like that.”

Ms Jef­ford – a sur­ro­gate her­self – works with in­tended par­ents and sur­ro­gates.

She rec­om­mends in­tended par­ents do their re­search be­fore tak­ing the first steps of find­ing a sur­ro­gate.

“They need to be aware of what the laws are in their state then go and see their fer­til­ity spe­cial­ists and ask them,” Ms Jef­ford said.

“They can’t do sur­ro­gacy un­less they meet the cri­te­ria.” She said sur­ro­gates need to do the same.

“If you are think­ing about be­com­ing a sur­ro­gate do lots of re­search and ask lots of ques­tions,” Ms Jef­ford said.

“There are a few trou­bles when sur­ro­gates go of­fer­ing be­fore see­ing if they are el­i­gi­ble.

“It also doesn’t help that the process is back­wards. “Usu­ally once a sur­ro­gate has of­fered they go and have a med­i­cal screen­ing. The is­sue with this is they’ve of­fered be­fore know­ing if they are med­i­cally el­i­gi­ble to be a sur­ro­gate.’’

Ms Jef­ford said it would be eas­ier for ev­ery­one if Aus­tralia had a model na­tional law on sur­ro­gacy.

“One piece of leg­is­la­tion we could re­fer to would be eas­ier. There was a sur­ro­gacy in­quiry 18 months ago and a lot of rec­om­men­da­tions about a uni­form law.”

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