Cross Border Surrogacy
For parents Lesley and John Brown, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) transformed their lives and provided them a means of conceiving the family they had long dreamt of. In 1978, Louise Brown, the child of Lesley and John, was born as the first baby conceived with the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). This ground-breaking event heralded a new era of reproductive medicine, enabling greater reproductive autonomy for both men and women. By 1980, the first successful Australian IVF baby was widely celebrated at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital, followed closely by the first baby from an egg donor and a frozen-thawed embryo. With 1 in 6 couples and approximately 186 million individuals suffering from infertility worldwide, ARTs have begun to unmask the unprecedented possibilities of conceiving a family for many.[4, 3]
Initially faced with polarising ethical debate, ART has increasingly become more accepted within society, coinciding with evolving modern family dynamics, more accessible IVF subsidies and improved IVF success rates. Currently, over 230,000 Australian babies have been born with the support of ART since the 1980s. Accordingly, 5% of all babies born in Australia today are conceived with the support of reproductive technologies, such as IVF and gamete donation. However, one of the more legally, socially and economically complex forms of ART is surrogacy, with the demand for cross-border surrogacy becoming progressively more prevalent.