Has someone asked you to consider helping them create their family? Or do you think that being an egg donor or surrogate is something you want to explore for yourself?

Helping somebody else have a child is a profound and generous act. It is critical to understand the issues involved, both legal and emotional, and discuss them in depth with the prospective parents before making any decisions. Will you have an ongoing relationship with the family and children? What might that look like? Will it change over time? If you have a partner and your own children, you also need to consider how your choices will affect them.

Various factors will influence the decisions you make: your personal values and circumstances, the relevant laws, and what is involved in being an egg donor or surrogate. Click on the links below for information about what is involved with both processes, including how legal parentage is transferred to the commissioning parent/s after the child’s birth.

Only altruistic surrogacy is allowed in Victoria, and only using an egg donated by another woman. Altruistic surrogacy was only effectively legalized in this state with the passing of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act (ART Act) in 2008. We do not yet know the extent to which (predominantly) gay men will take this option up as a way to create their families, or what kind of relationships they will form with their egg donors and surrogates.

If you are considering being an egg donor or surrogate, we advise you to read the material for prospective sperm donors to see if any of the issues explored are relevant to you. That material goes into some depth about the choices and emotional journeys men have been making in becoming donors to lesbian couples and single women in Victoria over many years.

All of this information is available to download as part of our Rainbow Families information kit, including a PDF of the information for prospective gay male parents, and a single PDF covering issues for prospective sperm and egg donors and surrogates.

What is egg donation and surrogacy?

If you have been approached by a gay couple or single man to be their egg donor or surrogate, it is important to understand what is involved. Here we discuss some issues that might arise in considering whether you are willing to become a donor or surrogate, and how information about children’s origins are stored, managed and released.

The egg donation and surrogacy process

The steps involved in both egg donation and surrogacy include engagement with a fertility clinic, health and legal checks, counselling and various medical procedures, briefly outlined here.

Transferring legal parentage

When a baby conceived via surrogacy is born, the surrogate and her partner (if she has one) are the legal parents. Parentage must be transferred to the commissioning parent/s before the child is six months old.

Options for ongoing contact

This is such a new option for gay men to become parents, it remains to be seen what choices people will make about ongoing contact between egg donors and surrogates and the families they helped create. The experiences of families created through overseas surrogacy, and those created through sperm donation might provide some guidance.

Rainbow Families Council produced this information kit in October 2010. We have made every effort to ensure the kit is correct, but accept no liability for information given. Information will be regularly updated on our website. We strongly advise that you seek medical and legal advice and specialist counselling relevant to your specific situation.