Experiences of surrogates and intended parents of surrogacy arrangements: a systematic review

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This review reports on the experiences of surrogates and intended parents of surrogacy arrangements. The findings from 47 studies, conducted across 12 countries and investigating predominately gestational surrogacy in a commercial setting, were analysed thematically, and are reported in a narrative summary. The findings reveal that the experiences of both parties of surrogacy arrangements are largely satisfactory and frequently involve positive relationships forming between one another, which they hope to maintain after birth. Some surrogacy participants experience challenges, particularly when the surrogate and intended parents reside in different countries. Intended parents face legal hurdles when returning home after an international arrangement. Concerningly, multiple reports of clinical practices in India have been published, in which commercial surrogacy was accessed by foreign intended parents, which infringed on surrogates’ autonomy during the pregnancy. Intended parents turn to these international destinations when they face barriers to accessing surrogacy in their home country, such as the prohibition of commercial surrogacy. Looking beyond the altruistic and commercial dichotomy may alleviate some of the barriers to domestic surrogacy. Collaboration between professional fertility organizations to develop best practice guidelines can support clinics in providing international surrogacy services that minimize the risk of harm to those accessing care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-830
Number of pages16
JournalReproductive BioMedicine Online
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Assisted reproductive technologies
  • Cross-border reproductive care
  • Gestational carrier
  • Infertility
  • Psychosocial
  • Surrogacy

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