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The process for surrogacy in New Zealand may be getting some updates. Right now, there’s a lot of red tape to move through when a woman agrees to become a surrogate for an individual or couple. Part of that involves the would-be parents adopting the child the surrogate birthed for them. That’s a process that can take some time, and during that time the surrogate mother is still legally the child’s parent.
For example, Fiona Dalziel is a surrogate who gave birth in May 2023. As of August 14, 2023, she and her husband were still the child’s legal parents because the adoption hadn’t been completed. At that time there wasn’t even a date set for the adoption, leaving her and the couple she worked with frustrated. While the couple has the child full-time and care for it as their own, the fact remains that they don’t have legal rights to the child until the adoption is fully processed.
Surrogacy can be a long, complicated, and costly process. Getting to the point of having a healthy child through surrogacy may take years, and then parents are faced with more costs and more time before they can legally have the child that was born. There is a push to update the country’s surrogacy laws now, to reduce this problem and make it easier, faster, and less expensive for New Zealanders to use surrogacy to start or grow their families.
Compensation for surrogacy is also being discussed, along with 63 other recommendations that were made by a Law Commission in 2022. The recommendations included removing the adoption requirement, as well as setting up a new process that was less complicated and less expensive than the way the issue is currently being handled.
A report on potential changes will address the recommendations, how they might be implemented, and other issues surrounding infertility and surrogacy in the country. It’s important to protect the safety of the child, and make the process easier for people who will be great parents but who are unable to have children of their own. However, some argue that the proposed changes favor surrogates too heavily, so more work on how to balance the issue will be needed.
If you are considering starting or adding to your family through surrogacy, we can help! Contact our office today to learn more.