Law banning commercial surrogacy takes effect
Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A new law on assisted reproductive technologies, which took effect yesterday, will effectively put an end to Thailand's once-booming surrogacy business.
The Act to Protect Babies Born through Assisted Reproductive Technologies prohibits commercial surrogacy and the trade of sperm and eggs. The only people entitled to exploit assisted reproductive technology are thai childless, married, heterosexual couples.
Although the law will not be retroactive, foreigners will no longer be able to seek commercial surrogacy services in Thailand.
Statistics show that more than 2,000 foreign couples came to Thailand each year for the services, but the Act to Protect Babies Born through Assisted Reproductive Technologies from now on strictly requires that surrogate mothers must be relatives of the couples who have had infertility problems. In addition, it will not allow surrogacy for same-sex couples.
Thais who are married to a foreigner will be required to wait at least three years from the day of their marriage registration to become eligible for the service.
The law comes after several scandals in Thailand. The first concerns Gammy, a child born to a Thai surrogate mother. The biological parents (an Australian couple) abandoned the baby because he had down syndrome, taking his twin instead, born without disabilities. After a long legal battle, Gammy now lives with Koy, the surrogate mother.
The second story involves a Japanese man, who was discovered to be the biological father of at least 16 children born through Thai surrogate mothers. Local media referred to the case as the "child factory".
A recent case involved a US gay couple, who could not take their daughter out of the country because the surrogate mother refused to sign papers giving them custody of their baby.