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Co Parenting - it takes a modern village to raise a modern child

Gay couples don't stumble into parenthood by accident — it's always a deliberate act (and usually a complicated one too).

Like any modern family, there are many ‘ways to grow a family’ and Co Parenting is becoming just one of those many ways.

  • Back in the day, the term Co Parenting was traditionally only used to describe a situation where a parent had split from their previous partner following a separation or divorce, but who were still actively involved in the lives of their shared children.
  • In the past, Gay Parents were mainly women or men, who had children from former heterosexual relationships and who had later separated or divorced, but who were still actively involved in the lives of their shared children.
  • Today, Co Parenting is becoming just another way of creating a family for many gay, lesbian, or gender diverse people often because it’s a way of having your own biological child, and being actively involved in its life and development with other adults who are committed to helping you grow a happy child, (and all without having to go through the uncertainty and financial stress of surrogacy).

Regardless of whether you're Co Parenting from circumstances or choice, the parents agree to put the needs of the child first.

Meet Chris & Mirko, Anna & Jennifer

It really does take a modern village to raise a modern child.

Meet Chris and his partner Mirko.

Today they have a three-year-old daughter and they share her parenting responsibilities with their two female friends, Anna and Jennifer. Chris also shares additional parenting responsibilities with their 18-month-old son, while Mirko is just the Uncle. But it wasn’t always like that.

Wait - feeling confused and starting to need a flow chart to keep track of who's who and how?

Relax - it's Co Parenting.

A proud gay dad, if you ever ask Chris about his daughter he'll show you what can feel like 100+ photos of her (that he just happened to have on hand from last weekend's photoshoot).  He'll also tell you,

“I always knew I would be a parent, I didn’t know how but it had to happen. I love kids and I love family - it's who I am and it's super important to me”.

As a child, Chris helped his own single mother raise 3 younger siblings, but when he began dating, his plans for future fatherhood seemed to be in conflict with his dating experience. That was until he met his partner Mirko, who was already a proud and active ‘Funcle’ (aka the Fun Uncle) to his own nephews and nieces.

Together, over the next two years, they looked for ways to build their own family. They discussed fostering, looked seriously into adopting, and even ran some very detailed numbers on the cost of altruistic surrogacy in Australia.

The biological link

Chris wanted a biological link to a child of his own, whereas Mirko had no especially strong feelings either way, as long as he could be the fun dad.

“Through mutual friends, we met a lesbian couple Anna and Jennifer who also wanted to have a baby of their own. At first, we just shared our respective frustrations about growing our own families and the cost of surrogacy, over weekend dinners together. Over time it was clear they were looking for ways to create their only family too and we all became really good friends”.

Over time, they began to discuss if they ‘could use each other's reproductive capabilities’ to have a child?

They talked about each other's parenting expectations, their hopes for the future, compared ideas about how their own parents and circles of friends might react to them becoming parents, and discussed the types of support each had and might need.

Hastening slowly

Over time they all slowly edged a little closer towards the idea of them all becoming parents and Co Parenting. Eventually, they had separate discussions with a solicitor - both to get clarity on their important decisions and to formalise their shared plans for the future.

Happiness comes in pairs

  • That was two years ago and since then, little Miss ‘Charlotte Lousie’ arrived in the world two years later - daughter to two proud and doting dads Chris and Mirko.
  • A little over 18 months later Little Master ‘Samual Elijah’ arrived - son to widely happy Anna and Jennifer.

Together they are happy Co Parents, and another modern family.

Who is Co Parenting in Australia today?

Simply put, Co Parenting is an arrangement (formal and in writing or informal but clearly understood) made between two or more people to raise a child together, when the two biological parents are not in a romantic relationship with one another.

Single and Co Parenting

  • This could be a single man and a single woman (heterosexual or LGBTQI+ ) who have not found a partner and want to have a child.

Partnered and Co Parenting

  • This could be a same-sex couple and a single person of the opposite sex, (in this case the child might be brought up by 3 parents, for example, two fathers and one mother)
  • This could be a lesbian couple and a gay couple who agree to raise a child together which might be biologically related to one of the lesbian mothers and one of the gay fathers, (in this case the child might be brought up by 4 parents).
Gay couples don't stumble into parenthood by accident. It's always a deliberate act.

How we support modern Co Parents

Unusual Risks Insured is a modern financial advice practice that specialises in helping Modern Families get their life insurances stored.

Everyone who comes to us as a Co Parent has given parenting a great deal of thought, has the resources to care for a child and all share the same commitment - to make sure those they love are protected and provided for financially, in case a parent unexpectedly becomes disabled or passes away.

Where Co Parents start their insurance thinking

Most parents start with the idea of having a realistic picture of ‘what they want family life to look like, if they are unexpectedly disabled or no longer around’.

Pro Tip: As an absolute minimum, we say make sure you have adequate life and disability insurance in place to buy a nice place to live, to replace your income for at least a year, and consider what it will cost to safely provide for your children (and a partner or guardian to care for them) through to at least the end of their education.

You can read more about How Much is Enough, here.

Protect your family's future

Co Parents put particular time into making sure insurance policy beneficiaries are clearly identified and they make sure they get clear on their own estate planning needs as well, to make sure there is a family backup plan in place, just in case.

Professional Advice makes life easier

Having an ongoing relationship with a specialist financial adviser like the team behind Unusual Risks Insured, means they never lose track of important paperwork and policies, they can make updates as needed and they don't have to constantly re-explain their family structure to a stranger whose attitudes toward modern family life might not match their own.

  • An ongoing professional advice relationship also provides a family a clear and immediate pathway to managing an insurance claim too - if the unthinkable were ever to happen.

In short, taking control of your family’s future means peace of mind - knowing you have done everything you can as a parent, to protect and provide for your family — biological and logical.

Read our blog Single Parents Need Life Insurances Too.

Some of the advantages of taking control of your growing families insurance needs

Whether you're Co Parenting by circumstance or choice, taking a deliberate approach to growing and protecting your family has clear benefits. Each person has different needs and abilities and each situation has unique risks to manage.

If you’re Co Parenting by circumstance post-separation

  • taking out a separate life insurance policy on your Co Parent places you in the driver's seat. Rather than risk future confusion or disagreements about what percentage of a policy payout goes to who and when, having a separate policy makes your expectations clear.
  • You're in the position to determine who the policy beneficiary should always be and to know how much the benefit payout will be.
  • Additionally, when you're the policy owner/payer you know for a fact that the policy is being maintained and the premiums are up to date.

If you’re Co Parenting by choice

  • You can decide how your own life insurance payout should be distributed, whether that's held in trust solely for the future benefit of your child or immediately split between a partner and your child.
  • If you're a non-biological partner, you can control who is your nominated policy beneficiary (or beneficiaries) and better understand the future tax effects.

Regardless of how you might Co Parent, whether by circumstances or choice, putting the needs and best interest of the child you love first, is what guides your decisions.

And isn't that what a modern family should be about?

#LoveTakesAction

Where to now?

  Discover someone with a similar situation in our Case Studies.

  Have questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions.

  Make sure you Browse through our Blog.

  And when you're ready to know if we can work with you why not Skip the Que & Call for a Chat.

#LoveTakesAction

Published in All Case Studies

The labour of love that is Altruistic Surrogacy in Australia

Altruistic Surrogacy is legal in Australia and so is paying the premiums for a Surrogates' Life and Disability insurance policies.

Who’s using Surrogacy in Australia?

For many Australians, having children and raising a family is a natural and important part of their lives. But for some people, this dream doesn't come easily and when other avenues have been exhausted, options for surrogacy are considered.

  • The intended parents, (sometimes referred to as commissioning parents), are the parents of a child born through surrogacy.
  • A surrogate is a woman who carries a baby for a couple or individual who cannot conceive naturally on their own.

Different types of surrogacy

Gestational Surrogacy (as opposed to Traditional Surrogacy) uses a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) where a woman (the surrogate) offers to carry a baby through pregnancy on behalf of another — a person or couple, same-sex or heterosexual — and then returns the baby to the intended parent(s) once it’s born.

The gestational surrogate has no genetic link to the child she carries as her eggs cannot be used to conceive the child.

Traditionally, Surrogacy was one way only heterosexual couples, who had difficulty falling pregnant or who were unable to carry a pregnancy safely, could have a child of their own.

Now a growing number of single parents and same-sex couples looking to start their own families are looking to use Surrogacy.

What's our part in this journey?

Vertical chart IVR and Intended parents cycleWe're all about protecting both the intended parents and their surrogates from the major insurable risks of life and unexpected disability.

We specialise in helping;

  • intended parents get the highest quality life insurances in place for themselves, and help them
  • arrange life and disability insurances for their surrogate

in a respectful and confidential way, with a minimum of paperwork and no need for a face-to-face meeting.

Life and Disability Insurances for your surrogate should be established well before any medical assessment or attempts to become pregnant.

Download our Insurance Timeline Chart

Learn more about the IVF & Insurance Timeline to arrange Life Insurances for Intended Parents and their Surrogate. Download our free resource, When to Arrange Intended Parent and Surrogate Life Insurances, chart.

We understand not everyone understands

If you're an intended parent and partway through the roller coaster that can be Altruistic Surrogacy in Australia, you may have already spent what feels like a small fortune on medical and legal costs.

We also understand you may even have had to battle a level of ignorance and stigma from the un-informed portion of the community, or even extended family.

  • The team behind Unusual Risks Insured respects your need for privacy and completes all our work under the brand name of our parent financial advice company, Sapience Financial a financial advice brand that provides a wide range of different financial services Australia-wide.

The uncomfortable truth and what you can do about it

Although it may not be the most pleasant thing to think about, it's true pregnancy is not without risks.

  • From early pregnancy until some weeks after delivery, the statistical reality is pregnant women have an increased risk of mortality compared with women who are not pregnant.

This is why Unusual Risks Insured provides comprehensive life insurance and disability protection for intended parents and their surrogates.

Critical steps in keeping everyone safe

Family Protection planning involves;

  • understanding the statistical realities of life, and
  • the critical role Life Insurances and Estate Planning documents (like Wills and Powers of Attorney) all contribute to building a safety net under your family's future.

We can help you with all of these critical steps.

It is important to protect everyone involved in a surrogacy arrangement against the risk of one of the adults involved unexpectedly dying or unexpectedly becoming long-term disabled?

The intended parents should;

  1. arrange and pay for life insurances for their surrogate, to make sure her family is financially protected if anything happens to her as a result of the pregnancy.
  2. arrange and pay for life insurances for themselves and their future family
  3. include their future child in their current Estate Planning by nominating potential Guardians and providing the protection of a backup inheritance from a life insurance policy in case one or both parents were to unexpectedly pass away before their child turns 21.

The Good News

We can help you with these critical steps in your surrogate journey.

We understand the complex process (and an array of emotions) that can be part of the surrogacy journey, so we create solutions to fix potential problems before they ever arise so you can have more time and emotional space to enjoy the journey you’re on together.

Who we work with?

We work with intended parents who are;

  • ready to get their own life insurances sorted, and
  • ready to protect their Surrogate with the highest quality life insurances, too.

Australian Law

Laws relating to surrogacy are managed independently by different Australian states and territories.  Altruistic Surrogacy is legal in Australia as is paying for a Surrogates's life insurance and disability insurance policy premiums.

Law in NSW

In NSW, the Surrogacy Act 2010 recognises certain surrogacy agreements, prohibits commercial agreements and clarifies the status of children born via surrogacy.

Section 7(3) of the Act outlines what is considered the surrogates reasonable costs associated with the pregnancy or birth as;

(a) any reasonable medical costs associated with the pregnancy or birth (both prenatal and post-natal),
(b) any reasonable travel or accommodation costs associated with the pregnancy or birth,
(c) any premium paid for health, disability or life insurance that would not have been obtained by the birth mother, had the surrogacy arrangement not been entered into...

Law in other States & Territories

Benefit from our professional privacy and expertise

We understand for intended parents, knowing how and who should best arrange high-quality life insurance for their surrogate can be complicated and loaded with privacy and practical personal concerns.

For over 20 years, the Financial Advisers at Unusual Risk Insured have watched Australian legislation lag behind the needs and demands of the community and how insurance companies have tried to quietly avoid this type of client; so were decided to be the change we wanted to see in our community.

All life insurance policies vary from company to company, as do their policy features and conditions.

  • Sadly, the attitude of many insurance companies towards what are usually short term policies, are often less than welcoming
  • Some life insurance companies deliberately tilt their policy wording towards people having pregnancy inside families, rather than outside.

As the awareness of Surrogacy increases, some insurance companies have started writing policies that only cover a pregnancy within the family, not a surrogate pregnancy.

Why work with us?

Whether you’re an intended parent or prospective surrogate, it's important you work with a specialist financial adviser who understands both;

  • the technical nuances of getting the right policy cover for you, and
  • who respects the deeply human connection involved when a person decides to be part of a surrogacy journey.

How to work with us

Our fee-for-service advice model allows us to provide Intended Parents the highest quality insurance for their Surrogate, at a wholesale price - something simply not available through traditional sources.

Additional value for a Surrogate

After the pregnancy, a Surrogate also has the option to simply take over the insurance policy (and keep its wholesale price structure) - potentially saving then thousands of dollars off the standard premium rates over the length of a life insurance policy.

If you're looking for additional online resources?

Make sure you're aware of these recourses:

Where to now?

  Learn about our Surrogacy and IVF Life Insurances.

  Have questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions specifically for Surrogacy services.

  Read about our range of Services. See Our Services.

  Ready to know if we can work with you? Get in touch with us for a chat.

#LoveTakesAction

Published in Services

What's the main difference between TPD and Crisis Trauma insurance?

The main difference between crisis/trauma insurance and total and permanent disability insurance (called TPD)  is crisis/trauma insurance will pay you for the specified illnesses listed in the policy, while you are trying to get back to work, while TPD insurance doesn't pay you unless you are disabled and more likely than not may never go back to work.

Published in Most Common

Can I take out TPD (total and permanent disability) insurance if I have been diagnosed with HIV?

For most people, Yes. 

As this is a complex area of speciality, please take our pre-assessment and then call for a call.

Published in About HIV

People taking PrEP can now access all Life Insurance products in Australia, through Unusualrisks

And that's great news for everyone who's using this medication to take better control over their health.

PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an anti-HIV medicine taken by a person who doesn't have HIV to lower their risk of infection.

The brand name of the drug known as PrEP is Truvada and it's now listed on the PBS and subsided by the Australian Government.

Published in Blog

Good News for Australians taking PrEP for HIV prevention.

People taking PrEP are now eligible for the full range of Life Insurance products stigma-free: if you know specialist Financial Advisor Drew Browne, the person behind unusualrisks.com.au

PrEPThis means people using PrEP can get a full range of insurance covers;

It's now all available to Australians taking PrEP - stigma and attitude free - through the specialist financial advisers behind unusualrisks.com.au

So what is PrEP?

You may have already heard about PrEP or perhaps you're looking for more information about how it affects your chances of getting Life Insurance or Income Protection cover?

Either way, PrEP is a medical breakthrough that's already playing a vital role in the efforts to End HIV by 2020.  Now the medication is listed on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme), just about anyone can now get on it.

Taking PrEP is a highly effective medication for preventing exposure to HIV.

  • PrEP is an acronym that stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It involves HIV negative people taking antiretroviral drugs to protect them and prevent HIV infection – in just one tablet a day.
  • PrEP is, as the name implies, a pre-exposure strategy, unlike post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which is taken after potential exposure to HIV has occurred.

In a nut-shell

  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) or technically more accurate, HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), simply refers to the regular use of HIV medications by HIV-negative people to prevent them from acquiring HIV.

  • Studies also show it helps lower HIV- anxiety among its users. *JAIDS Journal 11.2019

Who is taking PrEP?

Whether exposure to HIV is through sex or needlestick injuries, there are many people using PrEP to prevent them from being exposed to HIV and taking control of their sexual health and future wellbeing. 

  • Studies show PrEP is effective but the uptake of PrEP has been slow with research showing that's partly due to Stigma and Discrimination concerns - something the team at unusualrisks.com.au understands and provides a complete solution for when you need to apply for Life Insurances or Income Protection.

In Australia, lots of people use PrEP for lots of reasons

  • Some sexually active gay and bisexual men, transgender people and heterosexual people with an HIV positive partner who doesn't have an undetectable viral load, are part of the population groups at higher risk.
  • Similarly, Medical Professionals, Police, Fire, Ambulance and Emergency Services Workers are all at higher risk of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses through sharps and needlestick injury.

Real Life statistics

  • In Australia, approximately 30 needlestick injuries per 100 beds occur per year.
  • At least 18,000 healthcare professionals suffer from an NSI every year.
  • And 80% of reported NSIs involve a contaminated needle. The Alliance for Sharps Safety and Needlestick Prevention in Healthcare

Research shows that the medication used for PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV transmission among these population groups.

You can learn more about PrEP here.

What's the problem with PrEP and getting Life Insurance?

Up until now, Australian's taking PrEP have faced uncertainty, stigma and discrimination from Life Insurance companies towards the use of PrEP (and routinely find they also have to be the educator about PrEP).

  • People applying for insurance through online comparison websites report completing the application with full lifestyle and medical disclosures, only to feel insulted when a formal decline is issued due to 'lifestyle considerations'
  • People applying for insurance in their Superannuation fund report being routinely knocked back (and usually after having to disclose a full medical and lifestyle history) as the insurance provider doesn't 'deal with PrEP users'.

Most insurance companies and super funds simply do not provide underwriting for people with unusual occupations, hobbies, pastimes or lifestyles - if you get what we mean.

That's why people use the expertise of unusualrisks.com.au to get their insurances sorted - stigma-free.

How have Life insurance companies treated people taking PrEP?

The New York Times broke the story of Dr. Philip Cheng, a urologist in Boston taking PrEP and being denied full insurance cover until he stopped taking, Truvada (the pharmaceutical brand name for PrEP) to prevent HIV infection.

When American News is not accurate for Australia

Today as many people get their news from the internet, the growing risk is it may not always be relevant in Australia.

  • Many American Life Insurance companies take a discriminatory approach to how they underwrite the use of PrEP and outright deny any form of insurance coverage.

  • Many Australian Life Insurance companies and Super funds formerly decline applications for insurance by people using PrEP and discriminate in a similar way against people with well managed HIV or Diabetes.

Good news for Australians taking PrEP

The good news is Australian's using PrEP and who need Life Insurance or Income Protection, now have a clear pathway to getting their cover sorted - stigma and discrimination free - through unusualrisks.com.au

Where to now?

  Discover someone with a similar situation in our Case Studies.

  Have questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions.

  Make sure you Browse through our Blog.

  And when you're ready to know if we can work with you take our Anonymous Pre-assessment.

#LoveTakesAction

Published in Services

Can I get TPD insurance if I am HIV positive?

Yes, a lot of the time you can. We are in talks with some insurers about TPD (Total and Permanent Disability cover) and we're had success getting most clients full TPD cover.  You should be aware that high-quality life insurance also pays out upon a terminal illness diagnosis, so that may be of assistance if you have mortgage arrangements that require some form of TPD cover.

Published in About HIV

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Pic of Advisor Drew Browne (he/him)

Drew Browne (he/him)

Senior Advisor to Unusualrisks
& Sapience Financial

 

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