Learning from cross-border reproduction

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Medical Law Review, 2017, 25 (1), pp. 23 - 46
Issue Date:
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© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved. Drawing upon the preliminary findings of an Australian empirical project on cross-border reproduction (CBR), this article argues that regulators and policymakers could learn from the experiences of those who travel overseas in order to access fertility treatment and surrogacy. It makes four principal observations. First, the distinction between so-called 'altruistic' and 'commercial' gamete donation and surrogacy is increasingly unsustainable and is not experienced as meaningful by many participants in CBR. Secondly, the status of the law in CBR is profoundly equivocal; for participants it is often there and not there at the same time. Thirdly, self-sourced information, from the internet and more specifically social media such as Facebook, is now the principal source of information and peer support for reproductive travellers. Fourthly, and relatedly, domestic reproductive services providers are often sidestepped. If one of the goals of regulation is to minimise the risk of harm to participants, it is not clear that it is currently achieving this aim, and this article argues that any reforms will only work if they are more responsive to the reality of CBR.
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