NLA OKs surrogacy ban on foreigners

NLA OKs surrogacy ban on foreigners

Baby Gammy with mother Pattharamon Janbua, who says despite the intensity of last year’s scandal over her child, she is happy that Thailand’s surrogacy laws have since been changed. (Photos by Wichan Charoenkiartpakun)
Baby Gammy with mother Pattharamon Janbua, who says despite the intensity of last year’s scandal over her child, she is happy that Thailand’s surrogacy laws have since been changed. (Photos by Wichan Charoenkiartpakun)

The National Legislative Assembly on Friday affirmed a law that bans foreigners from seeking surrogacy services to end a "rent-a-womb" industry that made Thailand a top destination for fertility tourism.

The cabinet gave preliminary approval in August for to draft legislation to make commercial surrogacy a crime. It passed its first reading in November and became law on Thursday.

"This law aims to stop Thai women's wombs from becoming the world's womb. This law bans foreign couples from coming to Thailand to seek commercial surrogacy services," NLA member Wanlop Tankananurak told Reuters.

The law bans foreign couples from seeking surrogacy services and stipulates that surrogate mothers must be Thai and over 25.

"The important part is if the couple seeking surrogacy services is Thai or the couple is mixed-race, they can find a Thai woman to be their surrogate providing she is over 25," he said, adding that violation of the law carries a "severe prison sentence".

Critics say making commercial surrogacy illegal could push the industry underground, making it harder for patients to access quality physicians and medical care.

The country was rocked by several surrogacy scandals last year, including allegations that an Australian couple had abandoned their Down Syndrome baby with his Thai birth mother taking only his healthy twin sister back to Australia with them.

Another case involved a Japanese man who fathered at least at least 16 babies using Thai surrogates in what local Thai media called the "baby factory".


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