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Olga van den Akker
British Journal of Midwifery, Vol. 6, Iss. 12, 03 Dec 1998, pp 768 - 770

Surrogate motherhood is a ‘hot topic’ for discussion in the media, the medical and scientific community and in government. For the people using surrogate arrangements, it is a way of overcoming childlessness. This article outlines some of the controversies surrounding the debates, and seeks to demystify them by suggesting that we focus on the evidence available. Failing the availability of sufficient evidence, we could borrow from the experiences of alternative forms of reproductive technology or adoption and fostering practices. The recent government report commissioned by Tessa Jowell the health minister, recommends we do not pay surrogates, except for the expenses, and that surrogates should only be allowed to offer themselves once for this practice, or twice for the same couple with a two year gap. Fostering practice has shown that payment for fostering services and repeated or professional fostering practice is an advantage. This demonstrates we have not consulted alternative practices, and have not learned from our past experiences for which evidence is available.

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