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  • Fertility Experts from around the world

  • Growing Families is a non-profit organisation

  • Run by parents for intended parents

  • Our events promote best-practice


This two day event at the Brisbane Hilton is a chance to meet surrogates, donors, other intended parents, those who have completed the process and industry professionals.

We recommend intended parents book a ticket for both days (domestic and cross-border) to maximise your understanding of options.  Surrogate & Donor tickets are available for Saturday 19 June.
The Register Here button can be used to purchase tickets for the full weekend, including social events.

View the International Program Here

Conference Committee: Narelle Dickinson, Sophie Parkinson, Kyla Booth, Suzarn Pietersen, Jemma Bacon, Lily Obradovic, Karen Mills, Sam Everingham, Charmaine Staal.

Accommodation: Growing Families has organised discounted room rates at the Brisbane Hilton. Please use these links to take advantage of discounted rates: Room only Room with breakfast

IconNational Donor & Surrogacy Conference 19 June Domestic Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Sydney Time)
Timing Description

Avenues to egg & sperm donation

There are a range of options– friends and family; travelling overseas to access donor eggs, altruistic donor organisations;  fly-in eggs. This session reviews the pros and cons of Egg Banks, friend/relative as donor, EDA – setting realistic expectations about contact with donor, donor limits, anonymous vs known vs identity release, and differences in what is offered by various IVF clinics

Clinic-Recruited Egg Donors

This session outlines the availability of Clinic-recruited egg and sperm donors in the Australian context, the screening that is done, whether overseas donor eggs are available at Australian clinics, rules around compensation, counselling and identity-release.

Dr Neil Astill, City Fertility/Rainbow Fertility, Brisbane

Domestic surrogacy 

Anna will take you through your eligibility for surrogacy, how to decide on Australia or overseas, how to find an unknown surrogate, the order of steps once you have a surrogate, and how the SASS program works (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service).

Anna McKie, Surrogacy Australia


Legal Agreements for Domestic Surrogacy

What are surrogacy agreements? Who writes them? Are they legally binding? What surrogate expenses are allowed? How does transfer of parentage work? What legal rights do Intended parents, donors and surrogates have?
Ben Sayer, Sayer Jones Family Law


Donors Own Experiences
Donors discuss what motivates them, how they chose a recipient, what to look for, what an egg donor goes through medically, what are the logistics and how they engage with the children of their recipients

Panelists: Jemma Bacon, Mel Sharman, Sarah Dent

Traditional Surrogacy

Why motivates some surrogates & IPs choose this path? What are the cost implications? What are the risks to look out for? What does the research show on psychological outcomes for surrogates using their own eggs?  Do such journeys require different levels of oversight? Will some IVF clinics allow  insemination in the clinic environment?

The  Counselling Process

Relationships between surrogate, her partner and the intended parent are a key to success. what counselling should cover; what the counsellor is looking for; preparing yourself; potential impact on family members; Potential red flags; resolving Disputes addressing the potential mismatch between IP and surrogate priorities, how  relationships can develop or break down

Katrina Hale, Narelle Dickinson, Rita Alesi

Medical Considerations in relation to Eggs & Embryo Quality

Dr Ben Kroon, IVF Australia


Parent Panel

Australian parents  join a panel to explore how expectations can differ, how to come to agreements on crucial issues; How support needs were or were not met; What were the toughest aspects; how to survive the unexpected hurdles; Managing expenses, communication, trust  and more.

Moderator: Sam Everingham

Panelists: Trudy Bateman, Jaryd Collins & Adam Absolon

Surrogate Panel

A panel of recent surrogates discuss their journeys, how they matched, motivations, support required, setting expectations, re-imbursements, , the toll on their own families, support in Fourth trimester, post-birth contact

Panelists: Sarka Baida, Charli Lee & Machelle Daley

Online Forums to Connect with Egg Donors & Surrogates

Many Australians use online forums such as Australian Surrogacy Community (ASC) and Egg Donation Australia for support and/or to locate altruistic donors & surrogates. While these can be useful, emotions can run high and posts be mis-interpreted. Being ‘shot down’ for an inappropriate post is commonplace. This session covers forum etiquette, limitations, forum pros and cons, opinions vs facts; how to write and share your story appropriately and options if you are banned from forums

TBC, ASC moderator, Mel Holman, EDA moderator


Legal Transfer of Parentage

Legal transfer of parentage is available for Australian surrogacy, but requires a number of pre-conditions to be met prior to pregnancy and after the birth. Find out what these are and how to prepare


Breast Milk & Induced Lactation Options

Breastmilk is one of the most effective way to enhance child health, yet often child via surrogacy miss out. Some surrogates express milk – others will not. Intending mothers can take medication to induce lactation. Parents can also supplement formula with donated breast milk, sourced via informal networks or charities such as Mothers Milk Bank. This session reviews the range of health, safety and psychological issues to consider for both those providing milk and recipients

Lynne Hall, Mothers Milk Bank

The Impact of Surrogacy on Families

Older children of Australian surrogates discuss the impact of their mum carrying on their lives and family. What support do they give? How do they feel? What sacrifices do they make?



Meet & enjoy a drink and canapes with  parents, surrogates, donors and industry experts in a relaxed atmosphere