Surrogacy law to be eased

Surrogacy law to be eased

The Department of Health Service Support (DHSS) is seeking to amend the law to allow commercial surrogacy which can help curb the illegal trading of babies.

The agency is pursuing an amendment to the Protection of Children Born from Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act -- the ART Act -- which would allow women to be hired legally as surrogates, the DHSS director-general, Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, said on Wednesday.

The amendment would also enable foreigners to obtain legal surrogacy services in Thailand, he said.

Currently, a woman who is not biologically related to a husband and wife seeking a surrogacy service due to a fertility problem is allowed to serve as a surrogate only if the couple do not have a blood relative capable of doing so. The service must also not be for profit, he said. Now the DHSS is in the process of considering what requirements a commercial surrogate mother would need to meet.

The requirements will be necessary for state officials to refer to when registering legal surrogates if and when the amendment is passed, he said.

Details of surrogate registration will be fleshed out later after the amendment to the ART Act is agreed by the authorities, he said.

Proposed criteria for women seeking to be legal surrogate mothers include them having been pregnant before.

Women who were previously pregnant are physically ready for hormone injections which stimulate their eggs for artificial insemination, he said.

In addition, a woman's age and the number of times they have been pregnant are important factors and will be reflected in the criteria, Dr Tares said, adding some existing regulations governing surrogacy will remain in place.

According to a source, the current ART Act stipulates that women eligible to apply for permission to serve as a surrogate mother must be between the ages of 20 and 40.

They must not have conceived naturally more than three times or had a caesarean section more than once.

A woman cannot serve as a surrogate mother more than twice.

The current law also says that a couple seeking surrogacy must absorb the entire cost.

Last week, Dr Tares said he expected the amendment draft to be finalised in about two months from now.

The DHSS will also work to change a related law concerning the freezing of eggs, sperm or embryos, said the doctor.

Dr Tares has insisted that infertility is recognised by the World Health Organization as a disease, which means efforts to remedy the condition should be subsidised.

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