We often hear that one of the most frustrating parts of the Surrogacy process is that it is difficult to find a Surrogate – a person who is willing to become the birth mother, who will carry the child of the intended parents.
While the aims of the legislators drafting the Surrogacy Act 2010 (NSW) were probably well-intentioned, there is no denying that its requirements make it difficult for intended parents to find a Surrogate. A Surrogate must be over the age of 25, and the arrangement must be altruistic. This means that more often than not, the Surrogate must be going through the process with nothing more than kindness or well intentions.
To make it more difficult the Act prohibits advertising for Surrogacy Arrangements – and this affects both intending parents and surrogates. The Act says:
(1) A person must not publish any advertisement, statement, notice or other material that:
(a) states or implies that a person is willing to enter into, or arrange, a surrogacy arrangement, or
(b) seeks a person willing to act as a birth mother under a surrogacy arrangement, or
(c) states or implies that a person is willing to act as a birth mother under a surrogacy arrangement, or
(d) is intended, or is likely, to induce a person to act as a birth mother under a surrogacy arrangement.
Fortunately this prohibition does not apply if a the arrangement is altruistic and if no fee was paid for the advertisement, statement, or publication. It is certainly not uncommon to see pleas for surrogates appear on public pregnancy or childbirth internet forums. There are also a number of support organisations for surrogates and intended parents, as well as networking organisations designed to unite surrogates and intended parents. Fortunately, a number of our clients have found surrogates through their immediate network of friends and family, and did not have to deal with making requests on free forums.
Despite this, the requirements are challenging and certainly delay and frustrate intended parents. A lot of people give up and look for other avenues. I’m sure, however, that most intended parents who have been through this process can tell you that if you persevere and are successful, you’ll be greatly rewarded.