After numerous scandals relating foreign couples that seek a “carrier womb” in exchange for money, Thailand’s parliament is adopting a law which forbids commercial surrogacy. The country hopes that this new decision will put to an end to this commercial trade.
The subject of commercial surrogacy is quite controversial if one looks at the recent scandals, one involving an Australian couple and the other a Japanese man.
One Australian couple made headlines in August last year. The two Western Australians Wendy and David Farnell were accused of leaving behind a newborn boy known as Baby Gammy, diagnosed with Down Syndrome, while his healthy twin sister Pipah was taken by the two new parents to Australia. The boy was left with his surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua in Thailand.
Farnell, a convicted child sex offender, was still in custody of Pipah at the end of last year when WA Department for Child Protection began investigations.
In the meantime, the surrogate mother, her newborn boy and her family were helped by various charities and obtained a new home in the province of Chonburi, Thailand. Baby Gammy is now under medical treatment.
Pattaramon Chanbua also applied for Australian citizenship for Pipah’s twin brother. The request was granted last month.
There was another surrogacy related incident involving a Japanese man who became the father of more than 16 children of surrogate mothers.
This new law will end the trend of foreign couples seeking Thai women in order to “rent” their wombs. Up until now, the country’s public health legislature had a few loopholes that permitted this “industry” to flourish.
According to this new law, all foreign and same-sex couples are forbidden to seek Thai women for surrogacy. The law does, however, allow married heterosexual couples where at least one of the two members is Thai to use surrogates. There are a few conditions that must be fulfilled. The couple needs to prove that they and their relatives are infertile. Another condition states that a couple with only one Thai partner needs to be married for at least 3 years in order to be allowed surrogacy services, which must be free.
Image Source: ABC