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Surrogacy has existed since Biblical times when Hagar, the maidservant of the infertile Sarah, acted as a surrogate to bear Sarah and her husband, Abraham, a son. Despite the longevity of the practice of surrogacy, modern society has been reluctant to embrace surrogacy arrangements due to the ethical and sometimes practical debates they spark. This reluctance is evidenced by the general lack of legislative support for surrogacy arrangements in Australia and worldwide. In 2009 it was announced that Queensland will decriminalise altruistic surrogacy. While this decision is a step towards bringing Queensland in line with other Australian jurisdictions, it also has the potential to open up a Pandora's Box of legal and ethical issues. This article provides a snapshot of the anticipated new Queensland surrogacy legislation together with a brief overview of the regulation of surrogacy in all Australian jurisdictions. Recommendations are made as to whether there is a need for further reform of surrogacy regulation in certain Australian jurisdictions and if so, whether the proposed Queensland legislation constitutes an appropriate model on which to base such reform.
This document has been peer reviewed.