Surrogacy may be an option when a woman doesn’t have a uterus (for instance after surgery) or has a medical condition that makes pregnancy unsafe.

What does surrogacy involve?

Those needing surrogacy, ‘intending parents‘, nearly always use IVF to create an embryo. The embryo is then placed in the uterus of the surrogate. In New Zealand, the surrogate is often called the ‘intending birth mother’.


If pregnancy occurs, the surrogate carries and gives birth to the child. The intending parents then adopt the child.

Key ethical issues to be aware of
  • Ensuring everyone is fully informed about the psychological, social and ethical issues before they go ahead, so there are no regrets or surprises later.
  • The emotional risks of giving up a child for adoption.
Regulation of surrogacy 
  • Surrogacy requires an Ethical Application to ECART.
  • The intending parents must have a medical condition that prevents pregnancy or makes pregnancy unsafe, or have unexplained infertility and have not become pregnant from other treatments.
  • The intending birth mother must be assessed as being capable of a safe pregnancy and birth. She should have finished her own family.
  • Surrogacy with donor eggs may also be an option for gay men.
  • When a child is born from surrogacy, the surrogate is the child’s legal mother and her partner is also a legal parent. Because of this, preparation for surrogacy must include preparing for adoption with Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS). The usual rules for adoption apply.
If you are interested in talking to our team about surrogacy, you can do this by contacting a counsellor at your local clinic.