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Although surrogacy ostensibly dates to biblical days—Abraham and Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar, for example—it is quintessentially a modern path to parenthood. In its initial iteration, so-called traditional surrogacy, the arrangement called for artificial insemination of the surrogate carrier with sperm from the intended father, whose wife provided no genetic material but was the intended mother and a party to the contract. As reproductive technology advanced, and in vitro fertilization was first developed and then improved, a new type of surrogacy became the norm. With gestational surrogacy, the carrier provides only the womb, while both egg and sperm come from the intended parents or donors or a combination of the two. Virtually all surrogacy arrangements now involve this latter type, which reduces controversy over the practice and makes parentage disputes easier to resolve.



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