Surrogacy in NZ out of date, Law Commission review finds

Kate Nicol-Williams
Source: 1News

There's an urgent need to change surrogacy law in New Zealand to meet Kiwis reasonable expectations, the Law Commission has concluded in its review published on Friday.

Surrogacy needs a specific legal framework to promote and protect the rights and interests of surrogate-born children, surrogates and intended parents.

The Government requested a review of surrogacy in late 2020.

Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a child for another person or people who are the intended parents.

In Te Kōpū Whāngai: He Arotake - Review of Surrogacy, the Law Commission states people intending to have a child through surrogacy have to rely on the Adoption Act that is over 65 years old.

The key recommendation of the review is to create a new administrative pathway for becoming parents through surrogacy.

Parents wouldn't need to go through a court process like they currently do, where a surrogacy was approved by the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART) and the woman carrying the child gives her consent.

"Surrogacy is a legitimate form of family building that requires a specific legal framework to promote and protect the rights and interests of surrogate-born children, surrogates and intended parents," Law Commission principal adviser Nichola Lambie said in a press release.

Other recommendations include making it clear in law that surrogates can be paid for reasonable costs such as loss of income, establishing a surrogacy birth register to ensure surrogate-born people can access information about their creation, genes and whakapapa links and commissioning Māori-led research to better understand Māori perspectives on the issue.

The review has been carried out separately to Tāmati Coffey's Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill, that is now at the select committee stage in Parliament.

It's now up to the Government to choose whether to reform the law.