Monday, February 26, 2024

Govt to deliver on outdated surrogacy laws

The Government says outdated surrogacy laws will be amended to improve the experiences of children, surrogates, and the growing number of families formed through surrogacy.

Justice Minister, Kiri Allan, today announced the Government had adopted Labour MP, Tāmati Coffey’s Member’s Bill as a Government Bill.

“Surrogacy has become an established method of forming a family for people unable to carry a child themselves. However, the laws that apply to surrogacy are outdated and need to change,” Ms Allan said.

“Currently, parents must adopt a child born by surrogacy using adoption laws made almost 70 years ago. This process is discriminatory, causes unnecessary harm and stress and reflects how outdated the system is.”

As Mr Coffey’s Bill has already been introduced and is before the Health Select Committee, the Government will support the Committee to consider how the Bill could be amended to incorporate recommendations from the recent report into our surrogacy laws by Te Aka Matua o te Ture Law Commission, Minister Allan said.

The report made 63 recommendations about how to reform surrogacy law and practice and the Committee will consider the Commission’s recommendations for law change, including:

  • Removing the need for intended parents to adopt their child born by surrogacy and establishing new processes to determine the legal parents of the child
  • Establishing a surrogacy birth register to support people born by surrogacy to access information about their birth origins and whakapapa
  • Clarifying the types of payments a surrogate can receive for costs relating to a surrogacy arrangement
  • Accommodating international surrogacy arrangements

“I would like to thank Mr Coffey for his work in highlighting the importance of this reform, and the Law Commission for preparing such a thorough report in an area of ethical and legal complexity,” said Minister Allan.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to those who made submissions on the Bill and to the Law Commission, and shared their experiences with the current surrogacy process.”

Mr Coffey said New Zealand needs modern laws for modern whānau and the changes the Government are looking to make will achieve that.

“Given I am signing out of politics at this election, it’s a relief that I can hand this baby over to Minister Allan, who will make surrogacy the equitable and mana-enhancing process it needs to be.”

“I hope this continues to be supported across the House and thank all political parties for their support on the surrogacy journey so far,” Mr Coffey said.

Fertility New Zealand board member, Juanita Copeland said all New Zealanders have the right to build a family if they choose, and surrogacy is an increasingly used to do that. 

“It is heartening to see work progressing on the Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill, particularly its escalation to a Government Bill. This highlights how important and pressing it is to create a modern framework to support surrogacy in Aotearoa.”

“There has long been a need for greater clarity and protection for everyone involved in surrogacy and this Bill will provide that.  It will make it easier for people to build the family they have always dreamed of while honouring the tremendous gift that surrogacy is,” she said.

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