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Outcomes of surrogacy undertaken by Australians overseas

In surrogacy arrangements using assisted reproductive technology (ART), embryos are transferred to the surrogate who carries the pregnancy. The embryo can be provided by the intended parents, or alternatively, donor eggs and/or sperm can be sourced privately or via a commercial gamete provider or ART clinic. In Australia and other countries where ART is subsidised by public funding, elective transfer of one embryo is becoming more common and has resulted in improved perinatal outcomes after using ART.1,2 In Australia and New Zealand, the proportion of cycles with single embryo transfer increased from 56.9% in 2006 to 73.2% in 2011. As a result, the rate of multiple birth decreased from 11.7% in 2006 to 6.9% in 2011.3,4 In the United States and Canada and other countries where ART is not subsidised, the average number of embryos transferred and multiple birth rates are significantly higher.5 In countries where data on outcomes of using ART are not reported, such as India and Thailand, the multiple birth rate is unknown.

In Australia, only uncompensated surrogacy, where the surrogate (and gamete donor, if applicable) does not receive payment, is permitted. Despite laws to deter intended parents from seeking compensated surrogacy overseas,…