Surrogacy laws in New Zealand are tricky to navigate, so if you’re thinking about entering into a surrogacy arrangement, it’s vital to be informed and plan carefully.
In New Zealand commercial surrogacy is illegal and surrogacy arrangements are unenforceable. This means that while you can arrange for someone to be your surrogate, you can’t pay them, and you also can’t have the arrangement enforced. Legally, the birth mother is considered the parent of the child, along with her partner (if she has one). Intending parents have no parenting rights over the child, regardless of whether one or both of them donated their genetic material for the pregnancy.
This is problematic because if parties to the arrangement have a change of heart about surrendering or taking custody of the child, the legal landscape is complex. That’s why it’s important to gain advice on any arrangement you plan on entering into.
In order to become the legal parents of the child, you have to apply to the Family Court for adoption after the child is born. This application process is a complicated one which should be started well before the child is born. The court must be satisfied that you are “fit and proper” people to adopt the child and that the surrogate mother (and her partner if she has one) is consenting to the adoption. The documents involved have special requirements and it’s important that they are prepared correctly so that the Family Court can grant the application without complication or unnecessary delay.
Entering into a surrogacy arrangement may seem daunting, but with the right advice and support, it’s a process that can run smoothly and provide an immense reward for all parties.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please contact our family team: