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Human rights and surrogacy

Human rights relevant to surrogacy are found in international agreements.

'Each of the people involved in the (surrogacy) process, including, centrally, the child born as a result of the arrangement, have rights that need to be protected.'

Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Submission to the Surrogacy Matters inquiry, 2016

Australian state and territory surrogacy legislation allows you to undertake surrogacy in Australia in a way that protects the human rights of children born of surrogacy, surrogate mothers and intended parents.

Human rights relevant to surrogacy are found in United Nations international agreements that Australia is a party to and is obliged to uphold. These agreements include:

Human rights for the child include the right to:

  • their identity (including the opportunity to access information about their biological family and information about their birth).
  • a family relationship.
  • non-discrimination.
  • be safe and free from harm or exploitation.
  • have the child's best interests considered as a primary consideration in all actions concerning the child.
  • survival and development.

Harm and exploitation include child trafficking and the sale of children.

Human rights for the surrogate include the right to:

  • bodily integrity.
  • sexual and reproductive health.
  • be free from harm or exploitation.
  • access to information about the surrogacy arrangement.
  • access to counselling and health services.

This means the surrogate must be able to make a free and informed decision about whether to be a surrogate and how to manage her pregnancy, and have access to appropriate pre- and post-natal care.

Human rights for intended parents include the right to:

  • found a family, provided that this is not at the expense of the rights of others, including the surrogate and any children.
  • access to information about the surrogacy arrangement.

However, there is no "right to a child" under international law.


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