Adoption by same-sex and gender diverse couples

The Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act 2015 came into effect on 1 September 2016.

It means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) couples can now apply to adopt in Victoria.

LGBTI couples in Victoria can now adopt under the same circumstances as any other couple, and existing safeguards will continue to apply, such as the requirement that applicants are fit and proper persons.

The changes are an important part of the Government’s commitment to equality for LGBTI Victorians. It reflects the fact that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is distinct from their capacity to be a loving and caring parent.

In the event that an agency considers it is unable to assist a couple because of its religious beliefs, it will refer the couple to another agency. Care will be taken to minimise disruption to applicants and any other parties involved.

Applying to adopt

Those who are interested in applying to adopt should contact their local Adoption and Permanent Care team for more information.

A list of Adoption and Permanent Care teams is available on the Adoption and permanent care services - contact list page on this site.

Alternatively, potential applicants can contact the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 650 172.

Can I apply to adopt a child born through an international surrogacy arrangement?

Yes, you can apply.

However, it is not clear whether the Adoption Act 1984 permits adoption of children born through international surrogacy arrangements by their intended parents. Adoption applications in these circumstances have not been tested in Victorian courts.

Prospective applicants may wish to seek legal advice on options for resolving uncertainty.

Intercountry Adoption Victoria (IAV) will manage queries in relation to adoption in the context of overseas surrogacy and is providing extra resources to manage these queries, including providing initial, specific advice and guidance for parents applying to adopt in this situation.

Contact Intercountry Adoption Victoria on iav@dhhs.vic.gov.au or (03) 8608 5700.

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