Legal checklist resources for people considering surrogacy arrangements - either domestically or overseas - have been launched today at the Public Health Association Australia (PHAA) 2nd National Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference.
Checklists created by Kellehers Australia last year, have been adapted with the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) and other stakeholders to ensure greater access by the community. They are essential reading for anyone contemplating a surrogacy arrangement - whether in Australia or overseas.
Mother, surrogate and child share their story
The three videos below show different perspectives about surrogacy including those of an intended mother, a surrogate and one presenting a child’s outlook.
Commissioning mother – Fiona
After nine long years of infertility treatment failure and four miscarriages, Fiona’s sister, Laura, offered to be her “oven to cook her embryos”. After much discussion and a few glasses of red wine, they decided to proceed. Two years later, Pippy was born and she has brought more joy than Fiona could ever have imagined. Not many mothers get to cut their daughter’s umbilical cord but Fiona did!
Surrogate - Laura
Surrogate, Laura and her husband feel very proud of the help they were able to give Fiona and her husband to have their daughter, Pippy. Laura has never considered Pippy as her daughter but a much loved niece and cousin to her own children
Surrogacy child - Pippy
Pippy aged 12 years proudly says, “I came into the world in a very special way…I grew in my auntie’s tummy but I am my mummy’s baby”. Her parents have never made a big deal of how she began and Pippy knows she couldn’t be more loved and wanted. Her middle name is ‘Laura’ to acknowledge her aunt’s special contribution in making her.
Prior to 1988, sperm and egg donations were practised anonymously. Donors and parents who used the donations rarely told others about their experience. As society has changed and become more open, the law and this practice in Victoria has changed. Parents are encouraged to tell their child about how they became a family with the help of a donor. Donors are counselled in treatment clinics to be open about their donation to their partner, children, and extended family - especially as donor-conceived people or their parents are able to apply for information about them.
Listen to this interview with Stewart and his children talking about being a sperm donor.
“My advice would be to tell. Certainly it’s never as bad as it seems to give this information to other members of your family. You know, I think, you couch it in as simple terms as possible, give as much information as you feel comfortable with and let them absorb it and let them if they want to come to you with anything else they will." Stewart.
Barbara and Lauren (mother and daughter) tell their story of donor conception.
Barbara, after nearly quarter of a century of keeping the secret of her daughters' conceptions, tells them they are donor conceived.
Lauren, who was 21 when she was told of her conception, tells us her experience of being on the receiving end of this news.
Jacqui and Sarah provide us with their thoughts and experiences in talking to young children about how they used a sperm donor to become a family.
“It’s understandable to be apprehensive, of course it is. It can be quite a scary and challenging thing but in the end the important thing is tell kids early. I think that it’s really important; it’s something that they always know.”
Listen to this interview with Kim and her children talking about using an egg donor to become a family.
"I’m Kim, I used an egg donor for my 11 year old twins. And I have a genetic son who is 16".
This report from the Infertility Treatment Authority, Victoria, presents results of interviews conducted with donor-conceived adults, parents who are recipients of donated sperm or eggs, an egg donor, and infertility counsellors; 34 people in all. Discussion focused on telling donor-conceived people about their conception and resources that would assist parents and donor-conceived people to manage the information.
A guide for parents of donor-conceived adolescents.
Advice from an experienced mother of donor egg twins and clinical psychologist Kim Paleg.
Kim stresses that there is a difference between privacy and secrecy. The more she told others; the easier it became. Over time it stopped being Kim’s story and became her twins’ story and it was they who could choose if and whom they would tell.