Laws making it easier for South Australians to have a child through a surrogate will this week be introduced to State Parliament.
Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said the Bill was developed in response to recommendations made in an independent review of the state’s surrogacy laws by the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI).
“For some people, surrogacy is the only way to start a family of their own, and I believe it’s essential that we come up with a process that helps them while ensuring there are sufficient safeguards put in place,” Ms Chapman said.
“This Bill reflects careful consideration of each of SALRI’s recommendations in an attempt to deliver a simpler, practical and effective approach to what is an incredibly complex issue.”
Attorney-General Chapman said SALRI made 69 recommendations for change, many of which were adopted in the final Bill, including:
- raising the age to 25 or older for those entering a surrogacy agreement;
- allowing surrogacy arrangements where neither intending parent provides genetic material;
- making clear provisions for compensating surrogates for loss of income;
- providing less complex fertility requirements to include gay male couples and single parents.
“Following the release of the SALRI report, we consulted with key stakeholders and the broader community, and this Bill has incorporated feedback obtained through that process,” Ms Chapman said.
“The Bill clarifies surrogacy agreements, and the roles of counsellors in the process, while providing the Youth Court with final decision-making powers.
“The proposed legislation also accommodates cross-jurisdictional service provision, meaning fertility treatment does not have to take place in South Australia, and interstate lawyers and counsellors can provide the necessary advice.
“Importantly, commercial surrogacy agreements, that is making more income than reasonable for the surrogate, still remain illegal under this new Bill, consistent with the rest of the Country.”
Ms Chapman said the Government intends to seek further comment from key stakeholders over the Parliamentary Winter break, following the introduction of the Bill.
“I acknowledge the SALRI’s finding that this is an extremely sensitive and complex policy area that raises a number of ethical and legal issues, and attracts emotional and often conflicting views from those directly affected,” she said.
“We have given a lot of careful thought and consideration to this draft Bill, but I will seek further feedback from a number of key stakeholders before the Bill is debated to ensure we have the legislation exactly right.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to the Hon John Dawkins MLC, who has worked tirelessly on this issue for over a decade.
“This is a vital piece of legislation for the future of surrogacy in South Australia and proof the State Government is ensuring our laws are kept updated and modernised as our community changes."