Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_94929

Thailand outlaws commercial surrogacy for foreigners

23 February 2015
Appeared in BioNews 791

Thailand's parliament has passed a law banning surrogacy for foreign couples, after two scandals sparked worldwide attention last year.

'This law aims to stop Thai women's wombs from becoming the world's womb', Wanlop Tankananurak, a member of Thailand's National Legislative Assembly, told Reuters.

Under the new legislation, only married heterosexuals with at least one Thai partner are allowed to use surrogacy services. The couples must also have been married for at least three years. Fees are not allowed for the service and surrogate mothers must be Thai and over 25 years old.

Further to this, the surrogate mothers must be related to either the husband or wife seeking surrogacy. Anyone involved in commercial surrogacy, including agents, will face a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine up to 200,000 Thai baht.

Thailand is a popular destination for surrogacy services for couples from Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the USA. However, its surrogacy industry was put in the spotlight last year with the 'Baby Gammy' case (see BioNews 765 and 787), where an Australian couple had allegedly abandoned their surrogate-born baby with Down's syndrome.

The debate intensified when a Japanese man was found to have fathered at least 15 children using different Thai surrogate mothers (see BioNews 768 and 786), a case later termed the 'baby factory'.

Consequently, in August last year, Thailand approved a draft law to make commercial surrogacy a criminal offence (see BioNews 767). The draft passed its first reading in November (see BioNews 782) and became legislation last week Thursday. However, Reuters reports that 'critics say making commercial surrogacy illegal could push the industry underground, making it harder for patients to access quality physicians and medical care'.

'We have no law enforcement', Dr Somsak Lolekha of the Thai Medical Council told BBC News. 'Just like drinking and driving. We have the law. But they never enforce it', he added.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Thailand bans commercial surrogacy
The Guardian (Australian Associated Press) |  20 February 2015
Thailand bans commercial surrogacy for foreigners
BBC News |  20 February 2015
Thailand bans surrogacy for foreigners in bid to end 'rent-a-womb' tourism
Reuters |  19 February 2015
Thailand's crackdown on 'wombs for rent'
BBC News |  20 February 2015
Thai parliament passes law banning commercial surrogacy in wake of Aussie baby Gammy saga
MailOnline |  20 February 2015
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
29 August 2017 - by Taqdeer Sidhu 
Commercial surrogacy will be permanently banned in Cambodia if a new law drafted by Women's Affairs Ministry is approved...
28 November 2016 - by Ryan Ross 
A fertility nurse in Cambodia has been arrested for her involvement in the commercial surrogacy industry, following a recent crackdown by authorities...
7 November 2016 - by Lucas Taylor 
The Cambodian Health Minster Mam Bunheng has published a directive appearing to ban all forms of surrogacy in the country...
13 June 2016 - by Stephen Page 
A parliamentary inquiry into surrogacy laws in Australia has just reported its recommendations, but they don't go far enough and the country is likely to remain the world's largest exporters of intended parents...
16 May 2016 - by Ryan Ross 
A same-sex couple have won a custody battle in Thailand against their surrogate after she allegedly refused to allow them to leave the country with their baby because they were not 'an ordinary couple'...
26 January 2015 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
Baby Gammy, who was born with Down's syndrome to a Thai surrogate mother and was at the centre of a surrogacy scandal last year, has been granted Australian citizenship....
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.
1 September 2014 - by Rebecca Carr 
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....
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in 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.