Australians turning to India for commercial surrogacy followed by Thailand and the United States, reveal sources. According to an Australian agency called Surrogacy Australia, which is involved in international surrogacy, there were 200 recorded surrogacy births in India to Australian couples so far this year, compared to 179 in 2011, 86 in 2010 and 47 in 2009, reports News.com.au.
The research included Australian government statistics, data collected from 14 large overseas surrogacy agencies and a survey of 217 Australians.
"The research has shown that high levels of regulation within Australia and lower barriers in some overseas markets is shifting the practice of surrogacy offshore and it is a big industry," said Surrogacy Australia president Sam Everingham.
The average cost of surrogacy in India was 77,000 dollars while an arrangement in the U.S. cost on average about 176,000 dollars.
Surrogacy Australia president Sam Everingham said the trend towards overseas surrogacy would continue "while Australia maintains laws and policies that make surrogacy quite difficult within Australia".
"We're getting very, very small numbers accessing surrogacy here," said Everingham.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows there were just 19 births from Australian surrogacy arrangements in 2009, eight in 2008 and seven in 2007.
"The lack of legal ability to advertise or compensate a surrogate in Australia is pushing many hundreds of infertile or same-sex couples offshore," Everingham said.
However, Everingham said new visa laws enacted by India would prevent singles, same-sex and de facto couples from entering surrogacy agreements which could lead to a drop in numbers in coming years. But Australians might then shift their search to countries like Thailand, he added.