SURROGACY: A FACT SHEET Overview from Better Health Channel
Surrogacy arrangements are complex and involve medical, emotional, financial and legal issues. More Australians are considering surrogacy as a means to having a child because there is a decline in the number of children available for adoption, whereas they can access assisted reproductive treatment (ART).
A surrogate mother is someone who conceives, carries and gives birth to a child for another person or couple (intended parents or commissioning parents). The surrogate mother agrees to give the child to that person or couple after the birth. In most parts of Australia including Victoria, a surrogate mother must not have a genetic link to the child she carries for the other parent or parents. This means her egg may not be used in the surrogacy arrangement. The child’s genetic mother and genetic father (the mother and father for whom the surrogate is becoming pregnant) or a donor provides the egg and sperm used to form the embryo. This embryo is then transferred to the womb of the surrogate mother. In some cases, a donor egg may be used with the genetic father’s sperm to form the embryo that is transferred to the surrogate mother. Donor sperm may also be used with the genetic mother’s egg to form an embryo for transfer to the surrogate mother. A donor egg and donor sperm or a donated embryo can also be used.
Within Australia, only altruistic surrogacy is allowed. It is illegal to pay a surrogate, beyond medical costs and other out-of-pocket expenses.
A surrogacy arrangement could be considered if:
• A woman is unable to become pregnant as she may have had a hysterectomy or is missing part of her uterus, uterine lining, ovaries or other parts of the genital tract
• A woman may have a health condition that makes pregnancy dangerous or she may not be able to carry a baby to term • A couple in a male same-sex relationship may wish to have a child using their sperm
• A man may wish to have a child, but he does not have a partner
• A woman who has embryos in storage with her male partner dies and he wishes to use the embryos to have a child.
No, for the same reasons which lead one to reject heterologous artificial fertilization: for it is contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person. Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families.
* By “surrogate mother” the Instruction means:
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction On Respect for Human Life In Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Replies to Certain Questions of the Day.
Is Surrogate Motherhood Ethical for the Roman Catholic Church? (1 December 2015), Institute of Clinical Bioethics, accessed 28 April 2023.