New Zealand

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Surrogacy Insights


In New Zealand, the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act 2004 and the Surrogacy Act 2008 regulate surrogacy.  These laws permit altruistic surrogacy, where the surrogate mother receives only reasonable expenses related to the pregnancy. Commercial surrogacy, which involves paying the surrogate beyond reasonable expenses, is illegal.


The Surrogacy Act outlines the legal procedures and requirements for surrogacy arrangements.  It mandates that the intended parents and the surrogate undergo counseling and legal advice before entering into a surrogacy agreement.  The Family Court must approve the agreement before the surrogacy process can proceed.


Advertising for surrogates or intending parents is prohibited by New Zealand law, and any arrangement involving advertising is considered illegal.  


In 2013 same-sex marriage was legalized in New Zealand and gay people are permitted to participate in surrogacy arrangements.



Recognition of Parental Rights


In New Zealand, the surrogate is legally recognized as the mother at birth, regardless of any biological ties to the child. Parental rights must be obtained through the adoption process, regardless of where the child is born. Even if the intended parents are genetically related to the child or are named on a birth certificate issued by another country, the surrogate retains legal motherhood under New Zealand law.  This means that the surrogate can change her mind and not relinquish the child,



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Future Legal Developments


May 2023

The government announced plans to update its outdated surrogacy laws to make the process easier and less discriminatory. The new law will recognize the parental rights of the intended parents without the need for an adoption.  There may be a provision added regarding permitting international surrogacy arrangements.  It is hoped that the new Bill will be presented to the House of Representatives before October 2023.


August 2023

The New Zealand Health Committee decided to redraft the Member’s Bill to align with the Law Commission’s recommendations. 


October 2023

The recent general election saw the Labour Party defeated, leading to the emergence of the National Party as the new governing party.  Among the 52 bills still under debate during the election period was the Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill, sponsored by Tamati Coffey. MP Coffey lost his seat in the recent general election.  Fortunately, a colleague has taken up the mantle to champion the bill, and there is hope for bipartisan support.  The current status of the surrogacy amendment bill remains unknown at this time.



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