Surrogacy

What is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a form of assisted reproductive treatment (ART) in which one woman carries a child in her uterus and delivers it for another person or couple.

Surrogacy is not a simple process. There are a number of medical, legal, financial and emotional issues to take into consideration.

In WA, surrogacy is governed by the Surrogacy Act (2008). A copy of this legislation can be found via rtc.org.au. All applications for surrogacy must meet the criteria stated in Section 17 of the Act.

IVF surrogacy

Surrogacy at Genea Hollywood Fertility requires IVF so that the eggs of the intended mother can be collected and fertilised with the sperm of the intended father. Embryos created are then transferred to the uterus of the woman serving as the surrogate, to carry the baby to term.

The process of surrogacy is very complex and involves careful evaluation of all parties involved to ensure suitability. Commitment and dedication is needed from all involved.

The Surrogacy Act 2008 requires that all parties wanting to enter into a surrogacy agreement must:

  • Undergo implications counselling
  • Have a medical assessment by a medical practitioner
  • Have a psychological assessment carried out by an independent psychologist
  • Receive independent legal advice and have a written report, including a legal agreement between the parties drawn up
  • Have a 3 month 'cooling off' period
  • Undertake end of 'cooling off' counselling
  • Apply to the Reproductive Technology Council (RTC) for approval

An overview of surrogacy

Surrogacy may be considered a suitable option for the following reasons as stated in section 19 of the Act:

  • Women who have functioning ovaries but no uterus
  • Women who have reproductive abnormalities
  • Women who are incapable of carrying a pregnancy due to medical reasons

At Genea Hollywood Fertility, the arranged parents:

  • Must seek their own surrogate
  • Must be the providers of the gametes (sperm and egg)
  • Must be considered to be an eligible couple as per section 19 (1) b (11); and
  • At least one of the arranged parents must be older than 25 years, and both are required by legislation to reside in WA

Potential surrogates should:

  • be aged between 25 and 35 years of age
  • Have had previous successful pregnancies without complications and have completed their own families, with their youngest child being aged 2 years or older
  • Be generally healthy, ideally a non-smoker and not abuse drugs or alcohol
  • In a monogamous relationship, if sexually active

What’s allowed/ not allowed?

Altruistic, gestational surrogacy is the only type of surrogacy currently offered at Genea Hollywood Fertility.

Altruistic surrogacy involves no payment or commercial element between the commissioning couple and the surrogate. The surrogate is motivated by her desire to help the infertile couple, usually within the context of a close and continuing relationship with the infertile couple and their intended family.

Gestational surrogacy with an element of commerce between the commission couple and the surrogate is prohibited by law in Western Australia (Surrogacy Act 2008, section 6 (1)).

First Steps

Make appointments with Genea Hollywood Fertility’s Medical Director - one for the arranged parents, and one for the surrogate (and her partner, if applicable). The medical director will explore medical history, examine, and review suitability for surrogacy and discuss associated risks and hazards.

Surrogacy is a timely process and once suitability has been explored and approved by the Medical Director all parties will be required to undergo counselling (both, together and separately), and carry out medical testing, as well as seek independent psychological assessment and legal advice. A 'cooling-off' period will need to be completed, and then RTC approval sought.

Only once a decision has been received from the RTC, can the process of setting up treatment and generation of embryos begin. Once embryos are created, they are required to be quarantined for 4 months before transfer to the Surrogate.

Contact Genea Hollywood Fertility's surrogacy programme co-ordinator for further information.

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