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Australians’ use of surrogacy

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Traditional surrogacy, using the surrogate’s own eggs, has its origins in antiquity.1 Today, gestational surrogacy — where a woman agrees to carry a child for another person or couple, known as the intended parent(s), with the intention that the child will be raised by them — is more common. The oocytes and/or sperm used to create the embryo(s) in the surrogacy cycle can be either from the intended parents or from a donor or donors.2

Surrogacy is described as uncompensated or altruistic when the surrogate mother receives reimbursement only for out-of-pocket expenses (eg, medical costs) associated with pregnancy and birth. In compensated surrogacy, the surrogate is financially rewarded for the work of carrying a pregnancy for a third party.

Surrogacy may be used when the uterus is absent or not able to carry a pregnancy; when the female partner for medical reasons cannot gestate a pregnancy; in cases of recurrent failed implantation and recurrent idiopathic miscarriage; or when a single male or same-sex male couple uses assisted reproductive technologies to have children.3,4

Compensated surrogacy is illegal in all Australian jurisdictions, and in some it is also a criminal offence to undertake surrogacy overseas. Uncompensated surrogacy is regulated…