Parentage, surrogacy and the perplexing state of Australian law: a missed opportunity

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Following the decision of Bernieres v Dhopal (2017) 324 FLR 21; [2017] FamCAFC 180 it seems that intended parents of children born via overseas compensated surrogacy arrangements will not be recognised as legal parents in Australia. This decision results in harmful outcomes for children and represents a missed opportunity for the Full Court of the Australian Family Court to resolve this issue. Therefore, this article is intended to act as a plea for a review of the approach. Acknowledging the difficulties faced by the Family Court in attempting to resolve issues of parentage in compensated surrogacy cases within the parameters of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the authors suggest two possible alternative approaches. These approaches would enable the Court to stay true to the existing legislative framework while at the same time achieving what is clearly the desirable outcome for the children; that is: having their intended and functional parents recognised as their legal parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-386
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • compensated surrogacy
  • commerical surrogacy
  • parentage
  • Bernieres
  • Australia
  • law
  • best interests

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