Same Sex Parenting
Same sex parenting is legal in Australia and is possible in a number of ways for both gay and lesbian couples. The most common way is through assisted reproductive technology, by either in vitro fertilisation or intrauterine insemination.
One of the purposes of the Family Law Amendment (De facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Act 2008 was to remove any discrimination against female same sex couples who wished to have a child / children through artificial conception. If a child is born to a woman in a married or de facto relationship with an ‘intended parent’ at the time of the artificial conception then that person will be identified as the parent, not the sperm donor.
A common legal method for male same sex couples is an altruistic surrogacy arrangement, which is when a woman falls pregnant (usually by assistance listed above) and gives birth to the child for another couple. Although this is legal in Australia for same sex couples, it is illegal to pay the surrogate mother (often known as a commercial surrogacy). In New South Wales you are permitted to pay for all of the surrogate mothers medical related expenses. It is very important to note that entering into a commercial surrogacy overseas is illegal under the Surrogacy Act 2010.
The last main alternative for parenting in same sex relationships are adoption and foster caring. In Australia, same sex couples and individuals on their own are allowed to adopt. Throughout the adoption process, whether or not it is a domestic or international adoption there are very strict requirements for adoption so as to ensure the child’s best interests are being met. Usually it is a requirement for the individuals wishing to adopt to attend a number of seminars first so as to understand the process and legalities before proceeding.