Broadcaster Toni Street has been brave and public spirited to share in this paper today her personal arrangements with a surrogate mother to bear her third baby. Surrogacy is mystery to most people who might wonder how it comes about. Street's situation shows how good and kind surrogacy can be.
Advised by her doctor that a newly-discovered medical condition would make it unwise to have a third child, she and her husband had given up hope of a large family until a good friend offered to bear the baby. Not just offered, she was enthusiastic to do it. It is a bond those families will always value.
On average 17 surrogacy arrangements using in-vitro fertilisation are approved every year in New Zealand by the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology. They are all unpaid arrangements - commercial surrogacy is illegal in New Zealand.
The question arises whether surrogates should be compensated for lost income as well as routine medical costs of a pregnancy. That is a question the law can leave to those involved.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The commissioning parents would surely agree to compensating the surrogate from earnings the parents would otherwise have lost when the woman took maternity leave. That is a long way from the commercial arrangements the law rightly fears.
Few would want to see surrogacy become an industry of hired wombs. Much better that it remains a human and private arrangement between friends, with vetting where IFV is used to ensure the adoption and care of the child has been agreed in advance. Toni Street explains how well it can work.