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Surrogacy overseas

Surrogacy in many other countries is unregulated or poorly regulated.

Some Australians travel overseas to use surrogacy services.

It's important to know that many countries apply minimal (if any) regulation to surrogacy arrangements. International surrogacy arrangements are often commercial, even if they claim to be altruistic. This means:

  • you may need to engage in complex and lengthy legal processes to be recognised as the child's parent.
  • you may not be able to remove the child from the country of birth.
  • you may not be recognised as the child's parent.

The surrogacy laws in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory make it a criminal offence for their residents to travel overseas and engage in commercial surrogacy. Penalties include fines or imprisonment.

In foreign countries, laws relevant to commercial surrogacy can change quickly. Surrogacy activity may become a criminal offence, after previously being allowed and you may find yourself subject to criminal charges.


If you are considering international surrogacy, it is essential to:

  • make sure that any arrangements you make are legal and compliant with human rights.
  • understand that many countries apply minimal (if any) regulation to surrogacy arrangements.
  • understand the laws about bringing a child born of international surrogacy back to Australia.
  • understand how international surrogacy will impact your rights as a parent in Australia, including that legal parentage is not usually recognised in Australia. For more information see Risks for commissioning parents.

When children are born of surrogacy overseas, parents must arrange Australian citizenship or visas, and passports before they will be able to bring the child back to Australia. A surrogate may be required to consent to the issuing of a passport or visa. Evidence of a surrogacy agreement may also be required.

Visas and citizenship

Department of Home Affairs administers visas and citizenship for children born through international surrogacy.


Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade administers passports for Australian children born through international surrogacy.


Travel advice for Australians considering going overseas for international surrogacy.