Episode 49 – Education – Do surrogates get paid?

❗️ NO ❗️

Surrogates are not paid/compensated in Australia. We have our surrogacy and pregnancy related costs covered by the Intended Parents (IPs).


This page is part of a series of surrogacy education episodes from Anna. On the main podcast page you will find recent episodes and links to other categories: surrogates, gay dads, straight mums and guest / theme.

Join Anna McKie in conversation with surrogates and parents who have navigated Australian altruistic surrogacy. Anna is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service). 

The other episodes of the podcast were recorded as part of our free, fortnightly webinar series. If you would like to attend one, check out our dates and registration links. The recordings can also be found on our YouTube channel so you can see the photos that are described in the recordings.
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Do surrogates get paid? No, surrogates are not compensated in Australia. We have our surrogacy and pregnancy related costs covered by the intended parents, the IPs, but we are not paid any amount of money on top of all of those costs to be a surrogate. So to clarify, yes, surrogacy in Australia is legal, but we do the altruistic version. Commercial surrogacy is what is illegal in Australia. So why would we do it if you can’t get paid? That’s a really classic question.

I guess we do it for friendship and love, and the joy of seeing our friends or family become parents. Surrogates often enjoy being pregnant and giving birth and they want to experience that again, that was certainly the case for me. And to pay it forward to help others, or for compassion if they have struggled with their own fertility, or sometimes a surrogate has seen her sister or a friend struggle to create their family and it was relatively easy for the surrogate to have her family.

and so she feels compassionate and wants to help others who are in need, even though it might not initially be that sister that she saw struggle, but she goes on to help somebody else. So what costs are allowed to be covered? Allowable expenses include things like maternity clothes, pregnancy massages, physio.

vitamins, takeaway food when she’s too ill or tired to cook, meal vouchers, petrol to and from appointments, extra childcare when she’s struggling, and also extra care for the children if needed after a caesarian birth. Surrogates often have a debit card linked to their IP’s bank account to make these purchases easier. Loss of wages is an allowable expense, and that includes time for appointments, illness when she’s pregnant, and also maternity leave. In terms of how to reimburse those loss of wages,

Each team will decide how best to do that based on their circumstances. The surrogate is entitled to maternity leave if she’s entitled to that at her work and also the government paid parental leave. In fact, the IP who is the primary carer of the baby is also entitled to parental leave through their work and the government leave too. Surrogates will choose if they want to go through the public or the private healthcare system for pregnancy and birth. If she already has private healthcare, the IPs would pay the gap to add on obstetrics to her cover.

So that’s a very brief summary about what are the allowable expenses in surrogacy. As an altruistic surrogate, we are not paid in the currency of money. Rather, we’re paid in the currency of time, friendship and love. If the team is strong and has an ongoing friendship, then you find that surrogates talk about their journey feeling as though their cup is overflowing and they didn’t want payment. But sometimes when the relationship dissolves post-birth, Australian surrogates find it easier to see why being compensated for surrogacy could be a good option.

So will surrogates ever be paid in Australia? Hmm, that’s a tricky question. In my opinion, yes. I believe we will eventually head towards a compensated type of model for surrogacy, or perhaps a model like the UK or Canada where there are more allowable expenses or that the amounts that are set aside for these expenses are more generous. Watch this space. I’m saying this in April, 2024, so let’s see what the future holds. Are you thinking about being a surrogate, either for strangers or for friends or family?

Come and learn more in a free one hour webinar that we run fortnightly on Wednesday nights. Head to our website for details about those. Are you wanting to be a surrogate for strangers? Consider joining SASS, Surrogacy Australia’s support service. If you are enjoying this podcast series, I kindly ask you to share it with others or leave a rating or a review wherever you listen to the show. Until next time, welcome to the village.


Looking to find a surrogate in Australia? Consider joining ⁠SASS⁠.

Looking for an overview of surrogacy? Join us in a free, fortnightly Wednesday night ⁠webinar⁠.

Looking to chat with other IPs and surrogates in a casual setting? Join us for a monthly ⁠Zoom⁠ catch up, one Friday of each month. 

Looking to hear stories from parents through surrogacy and surrogates? Listen to our ⁠podcast⁠ series or watch episodes on our ⁠YouTube⁠ channel. 

Looking for support one-on-one? Register for ⁠SASS⁠ to connect with me – your Siri for Surrogacy, or book in for a private consultation ⁠sass@surrogacyaustralia.org