World First Ruling on defining Conception

The world’s first ruling on conception has been made by an Australian judge in Brisbane regarding when conception begins. The judge ruled conception only occurred when a fertilized egg was implanted in a woman’s womb – that is, the moment of pregnancy – rather than at the moment the egg was fertilized. The origin of the case deals with an embryo that was created years before the surrogacy arrangement, then frozen and not implanted in the uterus until months after the written arrangement was settled.

This ruling would have no impact on birth through natural conception; however it has a major impact on surrogate parents, and those with children who were born through in-vitro fertilization in Queensland, Australia. Judge Clare’s ruling will stop current and future disputes in parenting matters where couples are seeking to have a child through a surrogacy arrangement.

The surrogacy legislation in Australia currently states that when the birth mother (surrogate) assigns parenting control (parenthood) to the surrogate parent/s or intended parents – control has to be signed over before a child is actually “conceived”. This leads to why this legislation is so important; it is intended to help people in genuine need of surrogacy and may have embryos from prior infertility treatments.