For many Australian couples who have experienced medical complications in pregnancy, or for whom carrying a baby is not physically or medically possible, working with a surrogate to create their family becomes the best way forward to create a family.
Coming to this decision may be difficult and fraught with intense emotion, or it may be something you’ve known would be the case for a long time and it just is. However, knowing where to start to begin the process is an information minefield in itself, let alone finding someone who is willing to give you this ultimate gift.
In Australia, surrogacy must be altruistic. This means a surrogate cannot be paid to carry a baby, other than reimbursement for medical costs incurred and reasonable ancillary costs associated with the pregnancy and birth. In addition, a surrogate cannot be genetically related to the baby. Therefore in a gestational surrogacy arrangement, the intended parents either will use the eggs of the intended mother, or they will source donor eggs (and sometimes sperm) from a third party.
Each state has its own individual legislations in regards to surrogacy and the legalities of the transfer of parentage from the surrogate to the baby’s parents.
So, how does a couple go about finding someone to be their surrogate?
What should you look for in a potential surrogate?
What are the costs associated with the process?
What are the legal considerations you need to be aware of?
What things can go wrong?
These are just a few of the many questions you may need answers to.
There is no doubt that surrogacy arrangements can be complicated both emotionally, financially, logistically and in some cases, physically. It can be a long process and in rare cases, things can and do go wrong. Therefore it is vital to have all the information you need and be as well-prepared as you can.
The Australian non-profit Growing Families offers twice yearly seminars and conferences to educate Australians, introduce them to surrogates, egg donors and other parents who have gone down this route. Not only are they a fabulous source of information around legal issues, eligibility, costs, risks, medical and psychological considerations, they are a welcoming way to meet others in the same situation as you.
These events put real stories front and centre, along with talks from local and international experts. Many parents, donors and surrogates will share their extraordinary journeys of surrogacy in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Greece, Ukraine and Georgia, and there will also be a surrogate perspective panel.
If you know that surrogacy or donor conception is going to be a consideration for you and your partner to be able to create your own family or if you’re just exploring your options, this is a conference not to be missed. To find out more or to register, please follow this link.
Growing Families Information Seminar (full day)
Sydney – 8th February @ Novotel Sydney Central
Melbourne – 9th February @ Amora Hotel Riverwalk