Proposed law to simplify surrogacy arrangements passes first reading

The bill affirms the intending parents' automatic legal status once custody of the child is transferred

Proposed law to simplify surrogacy arrangements passes first reading

Parliament has passed on first reading a proposed law that aims to modernise procedures governing the practice of surrogacy in New Zealand.

The Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill (Bill 72—1) will amend several current legislation and regulations to simplify surrogacy arrangements. The bill was sponsored by Parliament member Tamati Coffey, who has a child born through surrogacy.

In particular, the bill provides a mechanism for enforcing surrogacy arrangements. The parties in a surrogacy arrangement may have the terms of the arrangement relating to the transfer of custody of a child embodied in a surrogacy order from the court. A surrogacy order may then be enforced under the Care of Children Act 2004 as if it were a parenting order.

The court may issue a surrogacy order if it is satisfied that the parties consented to the surrogacy and the Ethics Committee on Reproductive Health provided its approval under the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004.

The bill also provides that if a child is born through a surrogacy arrangement that is subject to a surrogacy order, the intending parents automatically become the child’s legal parents. Thus, the surrogate ceases to be a parent from the time of the child’s birth.

“New Zealand law does not currently afford any automatic rights to the intending parents of a child born via surrogacy,” the bill explained.  “At the time of birth, the child’s legal parents are the surrogate mother and partner, and a formal adoption process is required to complete the arrangement.”

The bill affirms the intending parents’ automatic legal status from the moment the custody of the child is transferred to them. If intending parents refuse to place the child under their custody, the bill makes them instead liable for child support.

The bill also requires the appointment of a surrogacy registrar, whose task is to register information about the identity of the surrogate or any person who donated an embryo or cells for the pregnancy. In this way, the government recognises the rights of children to know their genetic origins.

The bill has now progressed to the selection committee stage and is being reviewed by the Health Committee. The committee has encouraged the public to provide feedback on the bill until 20 July.

Recent articles & video

Research finds hourly rates have gone above and beyond the GHR

What are organizations doing to manage turnover?

Are masking policies still valid?

Anderson Lloyd partner on prioritising family and getting established in the Christchurch community

Law Society backs draft framework to improve access to civil justice

Wellbeing consultant and family lawyer to explore the validity of the billable hour model today

Most Read Articles

Anderson Lloyd partner on prioritising family and getting established in the Christchurch community

What constitutes a partnership? The nexus between law and culture

AMINZ announces new president

Wellbeing consultant and family lawyer to explore the validity of the billable hour model today