Surrogacy may be an option for intended parents who are otherwise unable to carry a child of their own. Commercial surrogacy is illegal in both Australia and New Zealand; therefore the arrangement must always be altruistic.

What is surrogacy?

Not all fertility clinics allow traditional surrogacy so you should always check which type of surrogacy they facilitate. Australia and New Zealand have different regulations, and within Australia, the states and territories have their own set of rules.

In short, surrogacy laws in most Australian states/territories and New Zealand follow a set of basic principles.

  • The intended parents are unable to carry a baby themselves
  • The surrogacy arrangement is not commercial so the surrogate cannot be paid
  • Costs involved in the treatment, pregnancy and birth should be paid by the intended parents
  • Everyone involved must receive counselling and legal advice
  • The surrogate (and her partner if she has one) are listed on the birth certificate and the intended parents can apply to the court for a Parentage Order

The surrogacy journey

The steps vary in each jurisdiction. Always consult with a specialist to understand which steps are involved in your jurisdiction.

The intended parents should qualify for surrogacy in their jurisdiction:

This typically means that a fertility specialist will recommend surrogacy for your individual case.


Finding a surrogate:

In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to advertise for a surrogate. In that case you may discuss this option with your friends and family members.


Medical assessment:

The surrogate meets a fertility specialist for a medical examination


Counselling and legal advice:

Everyone involved (intended parents and surrogate) have counselling and get legal advice.


Psychological assessment:

In some jurisdictions, everyone involved will need to undergo a psychological assessment



The surrogacy arrangement is approved and the process can go-ahead

How to find a surrogate?

If you are thinking about surrogacy, it is important to understand that there is more demand than supply. In other words, intended parents outnumber surrogates. That is why some intended parents travel overseas to find a surrogate mother. Before going down that path, it is important to remember that surrogacy in Australia and New Zealand is regulated by law and therefore protects the surrogate’s rights. It also means that the child’s best interests are protected.
In many countries there is little regulatory oversight or protections for a surrogate. Arrangements may be brokered through clinics or lawyers.

State policies/NZ legislation