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International Surrogacy and Parenthood in New Zealand: Crossing Geographical, Legal and Biological Borders

Date:4 APR 2017
Third slide
Rhonda Powell, Lecturer in Law, School of Law, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Keywords: International surrogacy – biological parent – intentional parent – fragmenting parenthood – New Zealand

Surrogacy is an increasingly common form of family formation. In New Zealand legal regulation of surrogacy has not kept pace with practice. Introduced by two Thai-New Zealand commercial surrogacy cases, this article discusses some of the considerations that should be taken into account in any reconsideration of New Zealand surrogacy laws. One case demonstrates the legal pathway walked by New Zealand intended parents when things go as planned. The other case demonstrates how badly surrogacy arrangements can go wrong. Together, the cases highlight legal and policy issues that need greater exploration: misalignment between immigration policy and family law; the inappropriateness of the intercountry adoption rules for regulating international surrogacy; the ambiguous role that genetic links play in the legal process; and the incongruence between familial relationships in fact and parental status laws. There is a need for New Zealand to develop a deliberate and coherent response to surrogacy that addresses these issues.
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