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For love or money? Australian attitudes to financially compensated (commercial) surrogacy

Authors


  • Competing interests: KT is a gynaecologist practicing reproductive medicine and holds stock in Monash IVF. SE is the Director of a global not-for-profit educational organisation which promotes best practice in surrogacy arrangements.

Abstract

Background

Australian law allows for altruistic surrogacy but prohibits compensation of surrogates beyond their expenses, or the use of professional surrogacy agencies. These restrictions limit local access to surrogacy, driving Australians overseas where they can access commercial surrogacy.

Aim

To assess the Australian public's views regarding the use of gestational surrogacy under various social and medical scenarios, together with their level of support for financial compensation of surrogates and the use of professional surrogacy agencies.

Materials and Methods

Online survey of 500 Australians of reproductive age (18–49 years) regarding views on surrogacy and acceptable levels of compensation, conducted during January 2016.

Results

The majority of respondents supported access to surrogacy for couples, irrespective of a couple's marital status or sexuality, with only 9% believing that surrogacy was unjustified under any circumstances. Of those who held a view on compensated surrogacy, over half (58%) believed the current ban was unjustified, with close to two-thirds (62%) also believing that Australians should be allowed to access commercial surrogacy overseas. In relation to compensation, most believed that payment should be determined by negotiation between the surrogate and commissioning parents, while also supporting additional payments for ‘hardship’ pregnancies. Half of the surveyed cohort supported the legalisation of professional surrogacy agencies, with only 17% being totally opposed.

Conclusions

The majority of Australians support surrogacy, compensation for surrogates and professional surrogacy agencies. Therefore, the existing legal restrictions should be replaced with professional guidelines that protect the surrogate and commissioning parents, while also improving Australians’ access to surrogacy.

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