02/20/2015, 00.00
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Thailand bans surrogacy services for foreigners

Parliament passes a law to prevent the country becoming "the world’s womb". Commercial surrogacy will be granted only to Thai or mixed couples in cases where the mother "for rent" is over 25. The case of Gammy, abandoned by his biological parents because of having Down Syndrome.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thailand's parliament has approved a law prohibiting foreigners to resort to surrogacy services, to end the "wombs for rent" industry that has made the country a favorite destination for the so-called "fertility tourism". "This decision - said deputy Wanlop Tankananurak - wants to prevent Thailand becoming the world's womb".

The legislative process began in August 2014, when the Council of Ministers gave its approval to a bill that would make commercial surrogacy a crime. The draft passed the first step last November and became law today.

Specifically, the measure prohibits foreign couples to seeking surrogacy services fromThai women. In the case of Thai couples or in which at least one spouse is a Thai citizen, surrogacy is permitted provided that the mother "for rent" is over 25. Breaking the law can result in a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The decision to approve such a law comes after two cases that prompted international outrage. The first concerns Gammy  (see picture), 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".


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