This travel bulletin provides information for Australians planning to travel overseas for the purpose of surrogacy.
International surrogacy is a complex and evolving area which raises significant legal and social considerations. Surrogacy is poorly regulated in many countries, which gives rise to a range of concerns for the welfare of the parties involved. Concerns include both the potential exploitation of women and differing approaches among countries to the legal rights of children born as a result of surrogacy.
We strongly caution Australians to consider all legal and other risks involved in pursuing international surrogacy, and to seek independent legal advice on Australian and foreign laws. You should be aware that the regulatory environment in a host country may change without warning. The absence of rules and regulations governing surrogacy in some countries should not be seen as condoning commercial surrogacy. The risks of entering into such arrangements in less regulated markets are high.
Australians entering into surrogacy arrangements overseas should be familiar with the entry and exit requirements for respective countries, including visas for commissioning parents and infants, to ensure full compliance. The Australian Government cannot intervene in visa matters.
Surrogacy arrangements occur legally in a number of countries. Highlighted below are countries in which surrogacy is not legal or where specific rules or requirements governing overseas arrangements surrogacy are in place.
The following websites provide an overview of the legal issues affecting Australians considering overseas surrogacy arrangements:
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in India.
On 4 November 2015, the Government of India issued advice confirming surrogacy was no longer available to foreigners. With effect from 4 November 2015, visas and permission issued by Indian consulates or Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) are not available to foreign nationals seeking to visit India for the purpose of commissioning surrogacy.
Australians are advised not to visit India for the purpose of engaging in commercial surrogacy arrangements. You should seek independent legal advice regarding these matters.
Applicants seeking further advice about changes to surrogacy in India or visa requirements are encouraged to contact
Indian Consulates in Australia.
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Thailand.
Australians are advised not to visit Thailand for the purpose of engaging in commercial surrogacy arrangements. You should seek independent legal advice regarding these matters.
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Nepal.
On 25 August 2015, the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered an immediate halt to commercial surrogacy services in Nepal.
Australians are advised not to visit Nepal for the purpose of engaging in commercial surrogacy arrangements. You should seek independent legal advice regarding these matters.
In November 2014, Cambodian authorities advised the Australian Government that the act of commercial surrogacy, or commissioning commercial surrogacy, was illegal in Cambodia with penalties including imprisonment and fines.
On 24 October 2016, the Cambodian Government issued a ministerial directive which reaffirmed that surrogacy is banned in Cambodia.
However, on 5 May 2017, Cambodian authorities advised the Australian Government of the transitional court arrangements for children born through surrogacy in Cambodia, effective from 28 March 2017. The advice received from the Cambodian authorities noted that a commissioning father must establish paternity through Cambodian court proceedings, supported by a positive DNA test result, and a surrogate mother will need to consent to a transfer of parental power. These transitional arrangements apply to children conceived before 28 March 2017 and are valid for 9 months and 10 days from that date. Commissioning parents should seek independent legal advice on how these arrangements are to be applied.
Commissioning parents should also be aware that they may face delays in obtaining exit permits for children born through surrogacy in Cambodia pending the further development of surrogacy laws and regulations in Cambodia.
Australians are advised not to visit Cambodia for the purpose of engaging in commercial surrogacy arrangements. You should seek independent legal advice regarding these matters.
Australians visiting Laos for the purposes of commercial surrogacy arrangements should seek independent legal advice before doing so.