Surrogacy is in need of a single national law
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.”