Surrogate mum’s plea for new laws
"I'LL do it, I'll be your surrogate," Amee Meredith promised her best friend Kylie Raftery 10 years ago.
Ms Raftery lost her first child, Sophie, in 2008.
Tragically, the miscarriage caused Ms Raftery permanent scar tissue damage, and the young mum was warned she might never carry a child - and even if she did, she might not survive the pregnancy.
"Seeing someone lose a child, it's something you would never wish on anyone," Ms Meredith said.
In 2008, Ms Meredith convinced her best friend and partner Adrian Raftery to use her as a surrogate for their child.
However, in a tragic twist of fate, Ms Meredith's husband was killed in a brawl in Darwin late December 2009 - pausing any of their surrogacy plans.
"I had three kids," Ms Meredith said.
"Suddenly, I was a single parent."
But she remained determined to help her best friend build a family.
She watched the Rafterys welcome their first child, Hamish, with the help of an ACT surrogate in 2012.
Two years later, when they were ready to add to their family - Ms Meredith insisted she was the one to carry the child.
"Being pregnant is the easy part, being a parent is the hard part," she said.
The application process wasn't as simple as expected - with Ms Meredith and the Melbourne-based Rafterys all undergoing mandatory counselling.
However, the real complexity was navigating the NT legal system.
As a Territorian, Ms Meredith needed to fly to Melbourne for all of her appointments because surrogacy is not legal in the NT.
"It's downright stupid," she said.
"It's not illegal here in the Territory to have a surrogate, but it's not legal either."
Ms Meredith said everything was worth it when the families met Zoe on November 27, 2015, but the complicated system needed to chance.
"It's crazy, it needs to change," she said.
"People are leaving the Territory to have families."
Darwin Council alderman and mother-of-two Rebecca Want de Rowe recently launched a petition, calling on the NT Government to introduce altruistic surrogacy laws so Territorian parents and surrogates had the same rights as other Australians.
"Altruistic surrogacy is legalised everywhere in Australia except the NT," she said.
Health Minister and NT Attorney-General Natasha Fyles confirmed the Territory had no laws which provided for surrogacy.
"I have asked the Departments of Health and Attorney-General and Justice to work together on developing advice about laws suited to the NT on surrogacy," she said.