Expert calls for new debate on surrogacy

Women prepared to act as surrogates for infertile couples could be paid for their time to avoid 'reproductive tourism', a Belgian expert says. Speaking at the World Congress on Human Reproduction in Melbourne yesterday, Ghent University head of bioethics Guido Pennings said he did not advocate commercial surrogacy, which was illegal in Australia and most other countries.

''But I do support reimbursement for surrogacy in a regulated environment with clear ethical guidelines and quality controls,'' he said. ''This would provide access to such a service for people in their own country and prevent the need for couples to bypass laws at home by travelling to other parts of the world to help achieve a family.''

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