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Monday, 10 July 2023 22:01

The History of Surrogacy: From Ancient Times to Modern Practices

The journey of surrogacy, a practice where a woman carries and gives birth to a child for another person or couple, is a fascinating tale that spans from ancient times to modern practices. This rich and complex history is filled with significant advancements, controversies, and milestones that have shaped surrogacy as we know it today.

Surrogacy in Ancient Times

The roots of surrogacy can be traced back to antiquity. One of the earliest instances of traditional surrogacy is recorded in the Bible, in the story of Abraham and Sarah. Unable to conceive, Sarah asked her servant Hagar to bear a child for her, marking one of the first instances of traditional surrogacy.

The Dawn of Modern Surrogacy

The late 19th century marked the advent of modern surrogacy with the successful performance of artificial insemination. However, surrogacy only started to gain traction as a viable method of assisted reproduction in the 1970s. The first legal surrogacy agreement, a significant milestone in the history of surrogacy, was brokered in 1976 by lawyer Noel Keane.

The Era of IVF and Gestational Surrogacy

The birth of Louise Joy Brown in 1978, the first baby conceived through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), heralded a new era in surrogacy. This advancement in reproductive technology paved the way for gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate is not biologically related to the child she carries. The first successful gestational surrogacy occurred in 1985, further expanding the possibilities for individuals and couples struggling with infertility.

The Impact of the Baby M Case

The mid-1980s witnessed the landmark Baby M case, a highly publicized custody battle that brought attention to the complex legal and ethical issues surrounding surrogacy. This case led to increased regulation and the drafting of surrogacy laws in many states.

Surrogacy Today and in the Future

Today, surrogacy is an accepted method of assisted reproduction, helping countless individuals and couples realize their dream of parenthood. With advancements in medical technology and evolving social attitudes, surrogacy continues to grow in popularity. As we look to the future, it is clear that surrogacy will continue to play a vital role in family-building, offering hope to those who face challenges in conceiving a child.

The Evolution of Surrogacy Laws

The legal landscape surrounding surrogacy has evolved significantly over the years. In the aftermath of the Baby M case, many states began drafting surrogacy laws to regulate the practice and protect the rights of all parties involved. However, surrogacy laws vary greatly from state to state, and even country to country, leading to a complex patchwork of regulations. Some states have surrogacy-friendly laws, while others have restrictions or outright bans. This legal complexity often necessitates the involvement of legal professionals in the surrogacy process to ensure all agreements are legally sound and protect the rights of the intended parents, the surrogate, and the child.

Surrogacy and Society

Societal attitudes towards surrogacy have also evolved over time. Initially, surrogacy was met with skepticism and controversy, largely due to ethical and moral concerns. However, as more people began to understand the process and witness the joy it could bring to families, perceptions started to shift. Today, surrogacy is more widely accepted and understood, thanks in part to increased media coverage and the sharing of personal stories by those who have gone through the process. Despite this progress, surrogacy still faces opposition and misunderstanding in certain sectors of society, indicating that there is still work to be done in promoting awareness and understanding of this family-building option.

Surrogacy and the LGBTQ+ Community

Surrogacy has played a significant role in providing family-building options for the LGBTQ+ community. For many same-sex couples and individuals, surrogacy offers a path to parenthood that would otherwise be unavailable. The rise of surrogacy has coincided with advancements in LGBTQ+ rights, including:

  • Legalization of same-sex marriage
  • Increased recognition of LGBTQ+ parental rights
  • Greater societal acceptance of diverse family structures
  • More inclusive adoption and surrogacy laws

These advancements have not only opened doors for many within the LGBTQ+ community but also sparked important conversations about family, parenthood, and inclusivity. As society continues to evolve and become more inclusive, surrogacy will likely continue to play a crucial role in helping diverse families realize their dreams of parenthood.

The Role of Surrogacy Agencies

Surrogacy agencies have played a significant role in the evolution of surrogacy. These agencies serve as intermediaries between the intended parents and the surrogate, providing a range of services including matching, screening, coordination of medical procedures, and support throughout the process. The rise of surrogacy agencies has helped to professionalize the surrogacy process, ensuring that all parties are well-informed and supported throughout their journey.

The Future of Surrogacy

Looking to the future, it is clear that surrogacy will continue to evolve. Advances in reproductive technology will likely lead to new possibilities and further increase the accessibility of surrogacy. At the same time, ongoing debates around the ethical, legal, and social aspects of surrogacy will shape the future direction of this practice. As we navigate these future developments, it will be crucial to ensure that the rights and interests of all parties involved in surrogacy are respected and protected.

Key Milestones in Surrogacy History:

  • The first legal surrogacy agreement (1976)
  • The birth of the first IVF baby (1978)
  • The first successful gestational surrogacy (1985)
  • The Baby M case (1984-1986)
  • The rise of surrogacy laws and regulations

The history of surrogacy is a testament to human ingenuity and the enduring desire to create families. From its ancient origins to its modern practices, surrogacy has evolved significantly, shaped by technological advancements, societal changes, and legal developments. As we continue to navigate the complexities of this fascinating field, it is essential to remember its rich history and the lessons it offers. The future of surrogacy holds immense promise, offering hope and possibilities to countless individuals and couples worldwide.

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Under Ukrainian law, surrogacy is a legal affordable option for traditionally married couples to have children using their own embryos, or with either an egg or sperm donor. There must be a medical reason you can’t carry a child. You are also able to participate if you have had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts.


Under Ukrainian law, surrogacy is a legal affordable option for traditionally married couples to have children using their own embryos, or with either an egg or sperm donor. There must be a medical reason you can’t carry a child. You are also able to participate if you have had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts.