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Region Oceania
Population 21260000
GDP (millions USD) 908,826
National Policies
Eggs for assisted reproduction commercial prohibited
Eggs for research commercial prohibited
Inheritable genetic modification PROHIBITED
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis social uses prohibited
Reproductive cloning PROHIBITED
Research cloning regulated
Sex selection Social uses prohibited
Surrogacy commercial prohibited; unrecognized
International Agreements
2005 UN Cloning Vote YES
2005 UNESCO Sports Doping Convention RATIFIED

Governance in Australia is federalized, with significant power distributed to its states and territories to legislate upon certain matters. Laws addressing research involving human embryos and cloning exist at both federal and state levels. National guidelines exist in relation to assisted reproductive technologies. Regulation of surrogacy and assisted reproduction falls to the states.


Key laws and policies

  • Prohibitions on human cloning for reproductive purposes Act 2002 (Cth)
  • Research involving human embryos Act 2002 (Cth)

Prohibited practices

Federal legislation in Australia bans reproductive cloning and inheritable genetic modification, but extends only so far as its power to regulate corporations.

Individual states and territories have enacted mirrored legislation regarding reproductive and research cloning to ensure coverage of individuals. (Note Western Australia does not permit cloning of human embryos for research purposes).

The Ethical Guidelines on the Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology in Clinical Practice and Research, issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council, is the policy document of the body that regulates assisted reproductive technology and related research. The Guidelines prohibit commercial surrogacy, and limit the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis to the avoidance of serious medical conditions. They do, however, encourage further public discussion of these and other issues.

The Guidelines are not mere recommendations, but there are potential limitations due to Australia's federal system. Laws among states vary. However, the Department of Human Services of South Australia says that "States must comply with the NHMRC Guidelines unless specific legislation regulating reproductive technology overrides."[1]

State laws uniformly make surrogacy contracts unenforceable, legal parentage falling, in the first instance, to the birth mother or birth parents. Commercial surrogacy is prohibited in all states and territories, except Northern Territory, by statute. New South Wales, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory, also prohibit commercial surrogacy extra-territorially.

The Australian Health Ethics Committee, which governs how medical research is conducted, ruled in 2005 that sex selection techniques should not be used in Australia.

Permitted and regulated practices

'Altruistic' surrogacy is permitted in each state and territory, subject to meeting stringent criteria'. Reimbursement for 'reasonable expenses' is permitted.

Providing eggs for reproduction or for research is limited to non-commercial transactions.

Embryo donation is permitted, in non-commercial situations for research or reproduction.

External links


  1. Department of Human Services of South Australia, "Reproductive Technology: Legislation around Australia"