The advances in medical options, increasing affordability of medical assistance, plus the changes in society (including the recent plebiscite regarding homosexual marriage) mean that many family law clients are interested in obtaining legal advice and representation regarding non-traditional ways of creating their families.
Clients who have been through assisted reproduction procedures often need legal advice and representation to help pre-empt or resolve any disputes regarding parentage and/or the care of children born through assisted reproduction procedures.
Under Australian law, the presumption is that the legal parent of a child is the biological parent of the child.
However, the Family Law Act 1975 in conjunction with State and Territory legislation, also provides for persons who are not the biological parents of child to have parental responsibility for a child. For example, often these procedures are undertaken with the express intention that one or both of the biological parents (ie the donor or provider of genetic material) will not in fact be the legal parents of a child once the child is born. On the contrary, there are “intended parents” for whom the process of assisted reproduction was undertaken and the Court can make Orders to this effect.
Also increasingly common in Australia are cases of commercial surrogacy (where a surrogate receives a material or financial benefit in exchange for carrying a child).
Despite commercial surrogacy being illegal in some states and territories in Australia, it is common for Australian citizens to travel overseas to engage in commercial surrogacy (commercial surrogacy overseas is illegal activity in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory). Aside from the criminal risks, upon the bringing home to Australia of children born under commercial surrogacy arrangements overseas, family law legal issues may once again arise regarding parentage of the child and care of the child.
If you require legal advice and representation regarding assisted reproductive procedures, including:
The team at Argent Law can help you.