When deciding whether or not to act as a surrogate for another person, you need to give consideration as to what expenses you are likely to incur and whether or not these are recoverable. It is not possible for a birth mother to receive a financial benefit or reward for acting as a surrogate, because commercial surrogacy arrangements are illegal in Australia.
For a birth mother to be able to recover her expenses associated with the surrogacy arrangement, the arrangement must be entered into prior to conception of the baby and it must be in writing. The agreement must be called an ‘altruistic surrogacy arrangement’. For some background on surrogacy and the types of arrangements, you can read our earlier article here.
The costs recoverable by the birth mother are reasonable costs associated with:
- Becoming or trying to become pregnant (such as IVF expenses, etc);
- A pregnancy or a birth (such as doctors appointment, hospital fees, travel expenses etc);
- Entering into and giving effect to a surrogacy arrangement.
The medical costs recoverable by the birth mother relate to the gap fee payable for the services and does not include any fees recoverable under Medicare benefits or other insurances.
The birth mother may also be reimbursed for loss of earnings during periods she was required to take unpaid leave due to medical reasons associated with the birth, and also for a period of not more than 2 months during which the birth happened or was expected to happen.
The types of costs associated with entering into and giving effect to a surrogacy arrangement include reasonable expenses associated with:
- receiving counselling;
- receiving legal advice in relation to the surrogacy arrangement, or parentage order; or
- the birth mother being a party to the proceedings for a parentage order, including travel and accommodation expenses.
For a cost to be reimbursed to the birth mother, the cost must have already been incurred and verifiable by receipts. If the arrangement is not in writing, the birth mother will not be able to legally recover the debt if the intended parents of the child do not reimburse her.
Before anyone considers entering into a surrogacy arrangement it is mandatory that you seek independent legal advice from am expert family law solicitor. If you are deciding whether or not to act as a surrogate, or are considering engaging in surrogacy contact us today and speak with one of our expert caring lawyers on 02 4929 3995.