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April 22, 1983

Parenthood by Proxy

JAMA. 1983;249(16):2251-2252. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330400089044

AS THE use of contraceptives and incidence of abortion increase and unwed motherhood becomes socially acceptable, fewer babies will be available for adoption, and more childless couples and single people who want to be parents will seek the help of physicians. Although human artificial insemination has been in common use for more than 30 years, it is now receiving new public attention. Much publicity has been given to an arrangement described as "surrogate motherhood," involving the artificial insemination of a woman who agrees to give the child thus conceived for adoption to the husband providing the semen and his infertile wife. Reliable statistics are unavailable, but an estimated 200,000 persons in the United States were conceived by artificial insemination, and an estimated 8,000 women become pregnant each year by this means through services provided by approximately 500 physicians.

The courts and legislatures have barely begun to confront even the most

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