Page URL:

Thai Prime Minister promises 'leniency' and 'case-by-case' approach in surrogacy crackdown

1 September 2014
Appeared in BioNews 769

Thailand's military junta has pledged a transitional period of leniency in cases of babies born to surrogate mothers, as it prepares to tighten its laws on the country's surrogacy industry.

A draft law initially approved by the Government, but which still needs to be approved by the King, aims to prevent the exploitation of Thai women by making commercial surrogacy a criminal offence. Under the law, anyone found guilty of commercial involvement with the trade could face a ten-year prison sentence, reports the Daily Mail.

The new law will only permit altruistic surrogacy arrangements to be carried out within highly circumscribed situations; surrogacy will be restricted to married, heterosexual and infertile couples who have instructed a blood relative to act as a surrogate.

Initial approval of the law has led to reports of surrogates currently avoiding healthcare in pregnancy or hospitals turning surrogates away out of fear of the potential legal repercussions. Foreign couples have also been caught up in the crackdown, with a number of people trying to leave the country with surrogate-born children reportedly held up and prevented from leaving by immigration officials (see BioNews 767).

The news has raised concerns that hundreds of foreign parents who have already initiated and or completed the surrogacy process within Thailand might now have to overcome lengthy and expensive administrative hurdles in order to obtain the necessary documentation required for their departure. But speaking on his weekly TV show, General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, chief of the country's militarily junta, said until the new law has been officially implemented, surrogacy arrangements will be handled on a case-by case basis.

The Protection of Children Born from Assisted Reproductive Technologies Bill, first drafted in 2004, was approved by Thailand's military government after being fast tracked following a spate of recent surrogacy scandals in the country (see BioNews 765 and 768). The National Council for Peace and Order, Thailand's government, has also conducted a number of raids on fertility clinics in the country and have reportedly closed a number of them down.

Easing of surrogacy stance 'welcome'
The Nation |  24 August 2014
Surrogacy issue to be handled on a case by case basis, says Prayuth
The Nation |  23 August 2014
Thailand says it will be lenient on cases of surrogacy amid Gammy crackdown
The Guardian |  24 August 2014
Thailand vows 'leniency' in surrogacy cases
Yahoo! News (AFP) |  23 August 2014
23 February 2015 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
Thailand's parliament has passed a law banning surrogacy for foreign couples, after two scandals sparked worldwide attention last year...
19 January 2015 - by Ayesha Ahmad and James Brooks 
The surrogate mothers of nine of the babies fathered by a Japanese man and taken into care by the Thai authorities have filed for custody of the children...
1 December 2014 - by Jenny Sharpe 
Thailand's interim parliament has voted in support of a law to ban its largely unregulated surrogacy trade.
13 October 2014 - by Ayesha Ahmad 
Reports of another surrogate-born baby abandoned in India by an Australian couple have further ignited the debate on international surrogacy in the wake of the Baby Gammy case....
26 August 2014 - by Jessica Ware 
A Japanese businessman may have fathered up to 15 children using Thai surrogates, 12 of whom remain in Thailand....
18 August 2014 - by Chee Hoe Low 
Thailand's Government has approved a draft law intended to make commercial surrogacy a criminal offence, leaving foreign couples reportedly unable to take their surrogate-born children out of the country....
11 August 2014 - by Sascha Callaghan and Ainsley Newson 
The story of the baby with Down's syndrome 'abandoned' in Thailand, which has dominated the news, illustrates how the international surrogacy industry has been booming...
4 August 2014 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A child with Down's syndrome born to a Thai surrogate is reported to have been abandoned by the intended parents, an Australian couple, who have denied the allegations. Conflicting versions of the developing story have been reported....
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.