Should the legal restrictions and criminal penalties against altruistic surrogacy be removed from the Surrogate Parenthood Act 1988 (Qld)? These restrictions should be removed. "Underground" surrogacy can lead to the exploitation of either party in a surrogacy relationship. Due to the law in Queensland couples are forced to go interstate or overseas to achieve the dream of having a family. This is an expensive and often exploitive option. My daughter was living in NSW with her husband and had long term plans of relocating to QLD to start a family. At 23 she was diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer. Before treatment with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, NSW doctors gave the couple an option of storing embryos so they could have a biological child. My daughter is now 28 and the only way her and her husband can have a biological child is through surrogacy. They are currently expecting their first child with her sister-in-law acting as their surrogate in NSW. If they were to undertake surrogacy in QLD, all parties involved would be breaking the law. Should the Queensland Government play a role in regulating altruistic surrogacy arrangements in Queensland? Surrogacy should be regulated. The government should set guidelines for clinics to follow. It should be the clinic that decides whether or not it will support a surrogacy arrangement. Both parties to the surrogacy should be screened medically and psychologically. Counselling should be undertaken to ensure both parties are aware of what surrogacy involves. Where possible the child should be the genetically related to both parents, however donor gametes should be allowed as long as the donor has consented to the use in surrogacy. The ACT surrogacy laws are workable. After a child is born through surrogacy, parents can apply to the court to have the birth certificate changed and parentage is granted for the child. This ensures that the child has legal recognition in relation to its genetic parentage and inheritance. Court proceeding usually happen between 6 to 26 weeks of age. The surrogate mother should have the right to keep the child if she choses, however genetic parents should have legal visitation rights in these instances. There are extra ethical issues in the American system of contracts and payments for surrogacy. In altruistic surrogacy, the surrogate mother is not seeking financial gain but is doing this out of love for the intended parents and the desire to help them have a family. What other issues should be addressed by the Government? The issue of parentage needs to be addressed. This is particularly important in the case of commissioning biological parents. The current system requires commissioning biological parents to adopt their own biological child. This does not meet the needs or intentions of surrogacy. What criteria, if any, should the commissioning parent/s and/or surrogate have to meet before entering into an altruistic surrogacy arrangement? Commissioning mothers should be infertile, medically unable to gestate, or risk the health of the mother +/ child if carrying a pregnancy to term. This must be determined by a medical specialist. The surrogate mother should have had at least one live birth and completed her family. Both parties should be mentally stable. Specialists (fertility specialist, obstetrician, gynaecologist, phycologist, physiatrist, etc) should assess both parties suitability for surrogacy and make their recommendations to an ethics committee run by the clinic involved. Should criteria for commissioning parents be similar to that for adoptive parents? The time it takes for adoption is not acceptable. This should not be imposed on people who require surrogacy. Further, fertilized embryos can only be stored for a limited time (5 years in NSW). What role should a genetic relationship between the child and the commissioning parent/s and/or surrogate play in an altruistic surrogacy arrangement? Where possible the child should be the genetically related to both parents, however donor gametes should be allowed as long as the donor has consented to the use in surrogacy. Should at least one of the commissioning parents have a genetic relationship with the child? Where medically possible parents should have a genetic relationship with their child. However if this is not possible, intended parents should be allowed to use donor gametes for surrogacy. Should the surrogate be able to use her gametes or should she have no genetic relationship to the child? If she feels comfortable on donating her egg for surrogacy then she should be permitted to use her gametes. Donation of gametes is currently allowable in Australia. In such cases however the sperm should be from the commissioning father What legal rights and responsibilities should be imposed upon the commissioning parent/s and/or surrogate? The commissioning parents should be responsible for all expenses relating to surrogacy. The surrogate should have all reasonable expenses paid for including: maternity clothing, time off work, bed rest, domestic help, child minding etc. Should the definition of altruistic surrogacy only include pre- conception agreements in Queensland? It should cover all surrogacy agreements made in Australia, provided that they meet the criteria for surrogacy by the Queensland government. For example the surrogate should have minimal disruption to her life. If she lived interstate, it would be beneficial for the surrogate to undergo implantation procedures and birth in her home state. How well does the transfer of legal parentage in a surrogacy arrangement fit with contemporary approaches in family law and adoption? Current family law does not allow or apply to surrogacy. How important is it for there to be a mechanism for the transfer of legal parentage that is specific to surrogacy arrangements? What would this be? Very important. Commissioning parents should be able to apply for a parentage order that transfers all parental rights and responsibilities for the child to them. Birth certificates should record the commissioning couple as parents (especially in the case of biological commissioning parents). Should the surrogate’s rights to be automatically recorded as the child’s parent on the birth certificate and to approve legal transfer after birth remain if she has no genetic connection to the child? The surrogate should have the right to waive this right (in the case of gestational surrogacy) and to transfer parentage to the commissioning couple should she choose to do so at or soon after birth. What rights should a child born through an altruistic surrogacy arrangement have to access information relating his or her genetic parentage? Who should hold this information? Children should have the right to access information regarding their genetic parentage. This information should be recorded and stored in a similar manner to those children born from anonymous donors by a central goverment body (or similar). What, if any, other matters should be considered in the regulation of this issue? This issue is about creating families for those that have little or no other options (especially for biological commissioning parents).