It has emerged that four Australian female soldiers have been sent home from the Middle East after falling pregnant on deployment.
An Australian Defence spokesman said that female soldiers are removed from the conflict zone as soon as pregnancy was detected, but did not confirm if any of the pregnancies had actually occurred during operations.
"Upon discovery that an ADF servicewoman is pregnant whilst on operations, she is returned to Australia as soon as practicable in an attempt to protect the pregnancy," News.com.au quoted the spokesman, as saying.
"It is, however, possible that they could fall pregnant in the period immediately prior to departure or while on mid-deployment leave and, if this is the case, they will be returned to Australia," he added.
According to reports, all female soldiers are pregnancy tested before they leave Australia and fraternisation is banned on operations.
The spokesman further said that condoms and contraceptive pills were available free of charge from medical staff, and female troops were advised to carry enough pills to last them for their entire overseas posting.
"Servicewomen are routinely provided contraceptive advice that is reinforced during the pre-deployment medical," he said.
There are about 220 women serving in the Middle East at present alongside 2100 men.