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Ways to become a parent

Most people become a parent by:

  • giving birth to a baby
  • having a baby with their partner.

But there are lots of ways to become a parent.

A mother, a father and a child

Biological parenting

A biological parent is when:

  • a woman uses her egg to start a pregnancy
  • a man uses his sperm to start a pregnancy.
A man hugging a pregnant woman

You can become a biological parent by:

  • getting pregnant and giving birth to a child
  • giving someone your sperm so they can get pregnant
  • asking someone to be your surrogate.
    A surrogate is someone who agrees to carry and give birth to a baby for someone else.
  • using a fertility treatment to get pregnant.
A pregnant woman with sperm and an egg next to her

Learn more about biological parenting the Pregnancy page of this website.

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Adoption is when you become a parent to a child, but you are not their biological parent.

Adoption is an option for people who aren’t able to or don’t want to become a biological parent.

A baby being handed over

Learn more about adoption on the Adopt Change website.

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Fostering is when you care for a child who can’t live with their biological parents.

Fostering can be for:

  • short-term – a few days or months
  • long-term – years.
A foster mother, a foster father and a foster child

Learn more about fostering on the Barnardos Australia website.

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A step-parent is someone who is in a relationship with the biological parent of the child.

The step-parent is not the biological parent of the child.

A step-parent, a biological parent and a child

Learn more about being a step-parent on the Raising Children website.

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