Thailand's Parliament Votes to Ban Commercial Surrogacy

Victoria Ferrara


Thailand has voted to ban commercial surrogacy after an outrage over allegations that an Australian couple abandoned a baby with Down's syndrome.

"A draft bill - which would see anyone profiting off surrogacy given a maximum 10-year prison sentence - passed its first reading in the country's military-stacked parliament." SPS

In August 2014, a Thai mother who carried twin babies for an Australian couple accused them of abandoning a baby boy with Down's syndrome while taking his healthy sister. The couple has denieddeliberately leaving the boy, called Gammy, with the surrogate mother who was paid around $15,000 in US dollars to carry the twins. The case was further sensationalized when it came to light that the intended father of "Baby Gammy" has multiple past sex offenses on his criminal record according to the Herald Sun of Melbourne, Australia.

In a separate case in Thailand, police believe a Japanese man fathered at least 15 babies with surrogate mothers for unknown motives.

In another matter, a gay Australian couple was also stopped from leaving Thailand with a baby because they had incomplete documents.

Dozens, possibly hundreds, of foreign couples have been left in limbo after entering into surrogacy arrangements through clinics in the kingdom according to 9News.AU. However, although the military junta in Thailand is cracking down on surrogacy, they have vowed leniency in these cases in order to make sure the surrogate mothers get proper medical treatment and the babies they are carrying are taken care of.

The reason why surrogacy must be restricted and even banned in some foreign countries is because of the scandalous and unregulated way in which it is conducted. The above cases demonstrate that there is a lack of oversight and professionalism leading to exploitation, hardship, and difficulty.

Although surrogacy must be scrutinized in such environments, it is not the same in the United States. The professionals involved with surrogacy and egg donation in the United States including medical clinic physicians, lawyers, obstetricians, etc. are very careful to follow guidelines and standards of practice that ensure the safety of their patients and clients. Safety includes legal safety, medical safety, and emotional safety. For example, in the United States, it is would be nearly impossible to abandon a baby in the care of the gestational surrogate. First of all, the intentions of the parties are thoroughly investigated and screened prior to a pregnancy. Psychological evaluations are done to ensure that the parties are willing and able to abide by their intentions and contractual obligations. Secondly, the legal proceedings in the U.S. where surrogacy arrangements are conducted would ensure that the surrogate would have not obligations and the intended parents would have the obligations for the baby to be born to the surrogate.

Although surrogacy is more expensive in the United States, it is important that intended parents find a way to finance their surrogacy journey in the United States so that the rights of all parties will be protected and so that the parties' will rightfully assume their obligations in accordance with their intentions and their gestational surrogacy contract.

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