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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/92340
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- An exploration of the psychological experiences of commissioning gestational surrogate couples
- Tracey, Jacqueline
- It is estimated by the World Health Organisation (2007) that approximately one in ten couples world wide is affected by infertility, experiencing either primary or secondary infertility difficulties. Established research indicates that as many as one in six Australian couples are unable to conceive, and therefore seek out available infertility treatments in order to have children. Medical technology has advanced at a rapid rate in the area of assisted conception, but for some couples Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is not enough to help them to conceive. A growing number of Australian couples are now looking to altruistic, non commercial, gestational surrogacy arrangements, where medical technology allows surrogate mothers to gestate other people’s children until full term, giving couples and individuals access to family life that had previously seemed impossible. This qualitative study explores the psychological experiences and emotional responses of eighteen commissioning couples in the State of Victoria in their quest to have families through the process of altruistic gestational surrogacy. All were in heterosexual relationships and were unable to either conceive naturally or to carry to term due to medical problems or multiple medical conditions. Couples were interviewed at length and their responses were tape recorded and then transcribed ready for analysis. An established process of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used in analysing the data, and themes and concepts were broken down into Units of Psychological Meaning and Interpretative Labels. The major findings of the study indicated that all the couples, regardless of what stage they were at in the process of altruistic gestational surrogacy, were positive, determined, and resilient in the face of many legal and procedural obstacles. The main frustrations and negative experiences appeared to centre on a lack of consistent information, the prohibiting of access to treatment for surrogates, and the subsequent need for interstate travel, and the extensive cost of the whole process. Findings showed a consistency in those aspects of the current processes and laws that couples wanted to change in order to improve the process and make it safer for others. Several psychological themes are discussed and recommendations are made for clinical application.
- Publication type
- Thesis (DPsych)
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Life and Social Sciences
- Publication year
- Australasian Digital Theses collection
- Copyright © 2010 Jacqueline Tracey.