Australia allows travel for fertility treatment

Travel exemptions have been granted, on compassionate grounds, for a small number of Australian medical travellers seeking IVF treatment and surrogacy abroad.

The federal government is granting travel exemptions for some Australian women to travel overseas for IVF or surrogacy arrangements not available under Australian law.

Growing Families, a charity that provides education and support on surrogacy and egg and sperm donation, has helped dozens of women organise travel exemptions based on compassionate grounds. It has helped 100 women get travel exemptions to complete surrogacy arrangements, and a further 23 for IVF treatment with donor eggs in Greece, Cyprus, South Africa, USA and Russia.

Commercial surrogacy is a crime in Australia, except in the Northern Territory. In New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, it is also a crime to travel overseas for commercial surrogacy.

There is a shortage of donor eggs in Australia because legally the donation must be altruistic and not anonymous.

In many other countries women can donate their eggs anonymously or be paid a commercial rate, while in some countries, the donation is legally considered altruistic but the maximum compensation is high enough to create an incentive for poor women.

Women seeking to travel overseas for surrogacy or adoption need to provide evidence, while applications to travel overseas to commence IVF treatment are generally not approved.

Australia is not planning to reopen for outbound and inbound international travel until mid-2022, deciding to wait until a vaccine is has been widely administered before lifting travel restrictions.

Passengers from New Zealand are however allowed to travel to parts of Australia under travel bubble arrangements between the two countries. They do not have to quarantine in Australia. However, they will have to pay for their own quarantine in a hotel when they return to New Zealand. The bubble is currently one-sided, with Australians not allowed to enter New Zealand. The bubble applies only to the state of New South Wales and the Northern Territory.