A list of frequently asked questions has been compiled below.


What is Surrogacy Australia Support Service (SASS)?

This is a professional service based on best practice research and models. It is designed to education both surrogates and Intended Parents (IPs) in forming well-suited teams and to support those teams over their surrogacy journeys with inbuilt counselling, mentoring and expenses management support.

SASS is an option for IPs and surrogates who are either looking to form a surrogacy team or for those who already have a team. See here for full details.

Surrogacy Australia Support Service (SASS) FAQs
Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service provides assistance for those wanting to find a surrogate, find intended parents and/or have a supported Australian surrogacy journey. There are packages that are available for surrogacy teams that already know each other too.

FAQs for All

  1. Why is this service being offered?

Research in 2018 commissioned by Surrogacy Australia included interviews with 30 altruistic surrogates showed that

  • surrogates commonly experience much harder journeys than they expected, owing to a lack of practical and emotional support on the part of intended parents.
  • Surrogates are not always good at asking for support when they need it

This service has been launched as a response to these findings, to better ensure that surrogates do not find themselves in difficult journeys.

 

  1. How much does the service cost for Intended Parents (IPs)?

Stage 1 – Education, mentoring and profiling                  $990

Stage 2 – Journey Support until 12 months post birth   $3000

Please note – these packages are undergoing some slight changes in early 2021.

 

  1. Will IPs be charged if they don’t end up with a suitable surrogate?

If you are not chosen by a surrogate, you will only have paid the initial $990 enrolment fee. You will not need to pay anything else.

 

  1. Surrogacy is already expensive for Intended parents. What justifies this additional cost for them?

Intended parents are paying AU$10,000 for comparative support services in other altruistic jurisdictions such as Canada. Surrogacy Australia knows that significant numbers of intended parents and surrogates do not engage in Australian surrogacy due to the absence of professional support. This service addresses that need at a significantly lower cost than in Canada, providing built-in counselling support, Mentor sessions and more.

 

  1. What if our IVF clinic already provides ongoing counselling?

Teams are informed about this possible double up and conversations then ensue with the team and SASS. Different packages can be (and have already been) negotiated for each team based on their unique circumstances if necessary. Our research in 2018 showed that the vast majority of surrogates did not use the inbuilt counselling offered by the IVF clinics.

If your clinic offers ongoing counselling, we encourage you ask them what they are offering in terms of ‘ongoing’. Is it until 12 months post birth? Is it with any counsellor of your choosing? Can the sessions be done via Zoom?

Our Stage 2 $3,000 fee covers far more than counselling. It includes support setting up a joint bank account for expenses, expense monitoring, ongoing surrogate and surrogacy team support and liaison.

If you feel this scenario matches that of your surrogacy team, please discuss this with us as we can cater a package to your team needs.

 

  1. Is the Journey Support service relevant for surrogacy teams who have already matched?

Yes, surrogacy teams who would like the support and back up of a structured service which provides them with confidential, professional support throughout what can be difficult and lengthy arrangements are welcome to access this service.

 

The application process asks for information about my mental and physical health, smoking, drug use as well as past pregnancies.

  1. Why is this information required?

SASS is modelled on similar altruistic services in the UK and Canada which ask for similar information. Such information will allow us to guide our conversations to further educate you about surrogacy and to share experiences of other surrogates/IPs who have similar backgrounds. The information will assist you in understanding your own mental and physical readiness for surrogacy.

 

  1. Who will have access to this information? Will it be confidential?

The information will only be accessible by two paid Surrogacy Australia staff who have signed confidentiality agreements. It will not be shared with your mentor, surrogacy counsellor, intended parents or surrogate without your express permission.

 

  1. Will the introduction process take away from relationship building, making the relationship less genuine or long lasting?

No, Surrogacy Australia will continue to recommend a six month getting to know you period for new relationships as it allows for each team to work on building strong bonds.

 

10. Will an Intended Parents’ profile be given to more than one surrogate at once?

No, we will only provide an IP profile to one surrogate at a time.

 

FAQs FOR SURROGATES

Which surrogates will be providing one-on-one mentor sessions?

Mentor Sessions will be delivered by experienced surrogates who have completed journeys as they can best advise as to what you will need as a surrogate. These include:

Charmaine Staal (QLD)

Amanda Meehan (VIC)

Amber Steers (SA)

Sarah Bagnall (ACT)

Madeline Greenberg (NSW)

Leanne Mackay (NSW)

Previous Mentors

Marnie McIntyre (NSW)

Hayley Christidis (WA)

Which counsellors will be providing the pre-paid psychological support?

Surrogates will have a choice of counsellors to utilise, but recommended counsellors will include Narelle Dickinson (QLD),  Sarah Nowoweiski (VIC) and Katrina Hale (NSW).

If the surrogate does not click with any of the first 3 profiles provided, will more be given?

Yes, until the surrogate is confident she has recipients she can start to build a trusting relationship with.

Is the Journey Support service relevant for surrogates who are considering carrying for a family member or friend?

Yes, even those teams which involve close friends or family members can benefit from third party support to ensure that expectations and relationships are preserved via good planning and support.

The upfront requirements of SASS will take me more work than I thought. Is it really worth it?

Surrogacy will take far more effort than you might expect. Everybody needs to be invested in this process. If parents must complete the application process, we feel it only fair that surrogates do also. These checks are designed to ensure that we can provide a safe and well-supported route during a surrogacy journey.

 

FAQs FOR INTENDED PARENTS

Does my initial investment guarantee I/we will find an Australian surrogate?

No, given the onus is on the surrogate to offer, your investment cannot guarantee this. However this does give you a far better chance of being introduced to a well-suited Australian surrogate if you do not have a family member or friend who has offered to carry.

What will be the ratio of Intended Parents to surrogates?

Surrogacy Australia will aim maintain a ratio of no more than 4:1 (IPs/surrogates). This means that Intended Parents may experience a waiting period before they are accepted into the ‘pool’.

Isn’t advertising for surrogates illegal in Australia? How will Australian Surrogates be sourced?

In most states, advertising is only illegal if it is paid advertising. Surrogacy Australia’s status as a charity provides the organisation with access to generous Google Adwords grants for advertising purposes on an ongoing basis.

Isn’t a matching program illegal in Australia?

Yes, like countries such as Canada and the UK, organisations are not allowed to match even altruistic surrogates. Instead we provide the tools and support to assist surrogates to make more informed decisions on who they carry for, and provide their surrogacy teams with support during the journey.

SASS has been modelled on altruistic support programs in the UK and Canada.

In South Australia, with the new Surrogacy Act 2019, it is illegal to facilitate a surrogacy arrangement or introduce intended parents and surrogates to each other.

This issue was raised at Surrogacy Australia board meetings, and it was decided that while Surrogacy Australia is registered in NSW, SASS will not introduce South Australian IPs or surrogates until or unless we receive legal advice. We are currently exploring our options for legal advice.

Stage 1 of SASS has members paying a fee for education and support, and no money is exchanged for introductions. SASS packages are undergoing some slight changes in early 2021 to better reflect the Education, Profiling and Journey Support sections, which in turn will complement the changes in the South Australian Surrogacy Act.

What if six months have passed and no surrogate has chosen our profile?

Many surrogacy programs in the US and Canada have delays to surrogate matching of 6 – 9 months. If you do not have the patience or time to wait, there are overseas programs we can refer you to which can match you more quickly. Finding a surrogate does not mean she is the right surrogate for you and your family either.  Surrogacy Australia cannot force a match.

If we do not think you are suited to Australian surrogacy, you will be advised of this after the initial application process.

Assuming I match with a surrogate, can you guarantee our relationship will stay solid?

No this is up to you.

Assuming I match with a surrogate, can you guarantee a child will result?

Whether you engage in surrogacy here or overseas, pregnancy and childbirth is never a guaranteed process. Sometimes surrogates require five or more embryo transfers. Sometimes pregnancies miscarry. Rarely children are stillborn or are born with fatal conditions.

Surrogacy requires faith, trust, goodwill and good planning.

Which IPs will be providing one-on-one mentor sessions?

Mentor Sessions will be delivered by experienced IPs (now just Ps!) who have completed journeys as they can best advise as to what you will need as new IPs. These include

Hetero:

Kristy Green (ACT)

Zoe Stefan (QLD)

Jessie Schuhart-McRae (QLD)

Leah Ellis (NSW)

Sarah and Ben Wright (SA)

Kate Ranger (WA)

Hannah Smith (SA) – Single mother

 

Gay male:

Martin and Paul Smith (VIC)

Dwayne Jude (QLD)

Mahesh Oliver (NSW)

John Doucas and Rick-Graeme Evans (NSW)

Brendan Campbell and Matt Davies (SA)

 

Previous Mentors

Ben Warner and Terry Crouch (QLD)

Lisa and Henry Leggett (VIC)

Mike Collins and Glenn Trainor (VIC)

 

What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy refers to an arrangement for a woman to become pregnant and give birth to a child for another couple or single person, with the intention of giving that child to the couple/person once they are born.

Isn't surrogacy illegal in Australia?
Although the laws differ from state to state, altruistic surrogacy is legal in Australia. You can find out more information about the laws across Australia on our website.

What is altruistic surrogacy?

In an altruistic surrogacy agreement, a surrogate does not receive any financial payment or equivalent material reward. Altruistic surrogacy comes with an unspoken but necessary obligation of emotional reward for the surrogate. The surrogate is however, reimbursed by the intended parent/s for any medical expenses and general costs associated with the pregnancy .

What are Surrogacy Australia's strategic goals and projects?
Strategy Goal  Action
Media engagement and community education Increase Australian community understanding and awareness of altruistic surrogacy and its benefits Part-time social media resource engaged from October 2019 to promote positive content across multiple social media platforms
Promote a workable altruistic surrogacy framework Significantly raise the proportion of Australian intended parents engaging in domestic surrogacy Introduced SASS program December 2018 to better facilitate screening, education and professional support of Australian surrogates and intended parents

Allowed Monash University to conduct an independent evaluation of the SASS program from January 2020 – Jan 2022

Empower more Australian women to consider altruistic surrogacy Significantly raise the proportion of Australian intended parents engaging in domestic surrogacy Tell positive surrogate stories; promote community conversations; work with national and state media
Lobby to modify state and federal laws to make engaging in domestic surrogacy more affordable, better supported with less risks for all parties Ensure children born via surrogacy to Australians have their intended parents recognised as their legal parents from birth Legal affairs sub-committee working since Feb 2020 on a grass-roots strategy at state level to harness support from parents to engage with their local parliamentary members on the need for law reform

 

I am interested in carrying a child for someone. Can you help me find a recipient?

Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service (SASS) provides the necessary professional support to ensure we can introduce you to intended parents who understand surrogacy, meet the requirements you are seeking and can support you properly throughout your journey. For details, click here

How much will surrogacy in Australia cost?

No surrogacy journey is the same, so it is not possible to predict exact costs, but our experience with Australian parents shows costs average around $55,000 – $60,000 over a two year period, including (non-rebatable) IVF, legal fees, mandatory counselling, surrogate expenses and compensation for time off work, insurance and travel, post-birth transfer of parentage. With a range of $36,000 – $86,000 for a total journey. Costs may be lower for traditional surrogacy (non-IVF) and will also be lower where a successful pregnancy is achieved on the first embryo transfer. Doing your research by attending surrogacy seminars or conferences can save you many thousands.

What is commercial surrogacy?

Surrogates in a commercial surrogacy arrangement receive financial payment or reward for acting as a surrogate. They are also reimbursed for any medical expenses, just like an altruistic surrogacy arrangement.

Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Australia, and some states have legislation in place that restricts residents from entering into commercial surrogacy arrangements overseas. More information about this legislation is available on our website.

Are there different types or surrogacy?

There are two types of surrogacy: gestational and traditional.

Gestational surrogacy is when the surrogate has a fertilised embryo transferred into her. The embryo is the product of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) using the sperm and egg of the intended parents or donated eggs or sperm. A gestational surrogate has no genetic contribution to the child they are carrying. Gestational surrogacy is the most common type of surrogacy in Australia.

Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate uses her own eggs and the sperm of the intended father, often via home insemination. A traditional surrogate therefore has a genetic contribution to the child she is carrying.

How can I find a surrogate in Australia?
Reach out to family and friends who may be in a position to be a surrogate for you. Many intended parents have been surprised how close to home they have found a surrogate.

Join online groups and forums to interact and connect with intended parents and surrogates. The Australian Surrogacy Community welcome Australian and New Zealand residents as members.

Join SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service) for more structured assistance in locating a suitable surrogate

 

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