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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Australian surrogate mothers discuss volunteering to carry another's baby

What does it take to have a baby for somebody else and then give it away? DAWN BARKER meets three Australian women who decided to become altruistic surrogates.

The saga of Gammy, the baby with Down syndrome left behind with his surrogate mother in Thailand, has highlighted the psychological and ethical complexities of the booming overseas commercial surrogacy industry. Commercial surrogacy within Australia is illegal, and NSW, the ACT and Queensland make it an offence to hire a surrogate overseas. Far fewer intended parents choose the legal option of using an uncompensated, or altruistic, surrogate: the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says that only 16 children were born this way here in 2010.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies recently published a study by Sam Everingham that surveyed 217 parents who either had, or planned to have, children through surrogacy. Almost half did not even consider uncompensated surrogacy, their main concern being that the surrogate might not give up the child (the birth mother is considered the legal mother in Australia, regardless of the baby's genetics).

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