Gestational surrogacy means that the surrogate’s egg is not used in conception, so she has no genetic link to the baby. In other words, she is not the biological mother but simply carries the pregnancy (also referred to as 'gestational carrier') on behalf of the commissioning parents. The embryo implanted in the surrogate may be created using the sperm and egg of the commissioning parents, or donor embryos may be used.
Victorian ART clinics are only permitted to practise gestational surrogacy. Some overseas and interstate clinics may also only practice gestational surrogacy.
Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate mother provides her own egg and she undergoes donor insemination with the commissioning father’s sperm or has embryos transferred which have been created using the surrogate’s eggs and the commissioning father’s sperm. Where a surrogate has also provided the egg and is therefore genetically related to the child, this raises additional issues about the child’s right to information about their identity and medical history. See also donor conception. It may also be more difficult emotionally for the surrogate to give the baby to the commissioning parents.
ART clinics in Victoria do not practise traditional surrogacy due to legal requirements. It is however possible to procure a traditional surrogacy through home insemination procedures. This is permitted under Victorian law. Overseas clinics in some countries may also practise traditional surrogacy. If you are contemplating a traditional surrogacy, VARTA recommends that you obtain legal advice, especially with respect to obtaining legal parentage of any child born.
Altruistic surrogacy is where the surrogate mother is not paid a fee or reward beyond being reimbursed realistic out of pocket expenses for the pregnancy, e.g. medical costs, travel, etc. An altruistic surrogacy arrangement may be either gestational or traditional.
Each of the States and Territories (except the Northern Territory) has legislation requiring altruistic surrogacy.
Commercial surrogacy is where a surrogate is paid or gains a material benefit for carrying the child. Commercial surrogacy arrangements within Australia are illegal and can be punishable by imprisonment in some States. Unlike in Australia, commercial surrogacy is legal in some countries.