Get a parentage order
A parentage order is a court order that transfers parentage from the birth parent/s to the intended parent/s—as part of the surrogacy arrangement. This means the birth mother and her partner (if she has one) no longer have a legal parental relationship with the child and the intended parents become the child’s legal parents.
We suggest that you get legal advice when making your decision. This will help you make an informed choice and, if necessary, follow the correct application process and provide the court with the documents it requires. These documents will vary depending on the circumstances of your case.
Applying for a parentage order
Who can apply
If you are the intended parent/s, you can apply to the Children’s Court of Queensland for a parentage order.
Transferring legal parentage gives:
- you the legal right to make decisions and applications to government agencies for your child
- your child certainty about their name and birth certificate, and entitlement under wills and deceased estates.
When to apply
You can apply to the Children’s Court of Queensland for a parentage order when your child:
- is between 28 days and 6 months old
- has lived with you for at least 28 days.
To protect your privacy, the Surrogacy Act 2010 contains special provisions regarding who can:
- be present at the court when an application for a parentage order is being heard
- access the court record.
It also outlines what information can be published about the court proceedings.
Requirements for a parentage order
For a court to make a parentage order, there must have been a medical or social need for the surrogacy. According to the Surrogacy Act this means the woman must be:
- unable to become pregnant, carry a pregnancy or give birth
- likely to affected her child with a genetic condition or disorder, or the child’s health or life at risk, if she does conceive
- unlikely to survive a pregnancy or birth, or likely to have her health significantly affected.
Under the Surrogacy Act, there is no medical or social need for surrogacy if a woman can conceive and give birth to a child not affected by a genetic condition or disorder with the use of donor sperm through assisted reproductive technology.
The surrogacy arrangement must:
- be in writing
- not be a commercial surrogacy arrangement.
The birth parent/s and intended parent/s must have:
- received separate legal advice before making the surrogacy arrangement
- gone through counselling with a qualified counsellor about the surrogacy before making the arrangement
- made the surrogacy arrangement before the child was conceived
- agreed to the surrogacy arrangement
- signed the surrogacy arrangement
- been at least 25 years old when the surrogacy arrangement was made
- all agreed to the making of the parentage order.
The intended parent/s must:
- be residents in Queensland
- have applied for transfer of parentage at least 28 days after, and within 6 months of, the child’s birth.
The child must:
- have lived with the intended parent/s for at least 28 consecutive days
- have been living with the intended parent/s at the time of lodging the application
- still be living with the intended parent/s at the court hearing.
A surrogacy guidance report, prepared by an independent and qualified counsellor, must have been given to the court. This report cannot be done by the same counsellor who gave counselling to any of the parties before they entered into the arrangement.
The parentage order must be for the wellbeing and in the best interests of the child.
Registering a parentage order
If you are the intended parent/s and the court makes a parentage order—it means you are now the child’s legal parents. When you receive the parentage order, you can submit a register a parentage or discharge order application form with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Setting aside or appealing a parentage order
A parentage order may be set aside if it is in the best interests of the child to do so and one of the following applies:
- there has been fraud, pressure or other improper means
- a party did not agree, or agree on payment, reward or other material benefit or advantage
- there is an exceptional reason.
If a parentage order is set aside or refused, you may appeal to the Court of Appeal.
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