Published: Mon, Dec 10th, 2018 by Sharon Chandra
Surrogacy is becoming an increasingly popular option for couples and people who cannot carry children on their own. It may surprise some to hear that in New Zealand, children born to a surrogate mother are the legal children of that mother, even if they share no genetics.
The ever-growing realm that is surrogacy offers those who have struggled to conceive and carry children themselves the opportunity to share a direct genetic link with their children. Many new parents are then disappointed to hear that there is a process following this that they must go through if they wish to be recognised as the child’s birth parents. The government has indicated that changing the ‘outdated’ Adoption Act 1955 is on their agenda, but until Parliament makes these changes, expectant parents should expect to jump through some legal hoops.
There is only one form of surrogacy that is legal in New Zealand; altruistic surrogacy. This ensures the potential for exploiting commercial surrogacy is circumvented and prevents the risk that a vulnerable or desperate birth mother will be selected as the surrogate. In addition, you will need to obtain the birth mother’s consent. Armed with these details a lawyer can help you apply for an Adoption Order in the Family Court.
Obtaining the legal status of your child is important for their security in New Zealand. Without an Adoption Order, a child will have no inheritance rights and the biological parents will have no authority as their parents. Despite the disappointing nature of our current surrogacy and adoption laws, until such a time that they are repealed, it is better to be prepared for the legal process ahead. A lawyer that has experience in the area can be invaluable as they are aware of what information is required and how to navigate the Family Court system.