A surrogate mother who had second thoughts appealed for help from authorities after becoming the target of threats and intimidation by the surrogacy clinic and police working for them.
Paveena Hongsakula, right, in a press conference with a threatened surrogate mother and her husband at the Paveena foundation in Pathum Thani on Tuesday. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
The 35-year-old woman, identified only as Orn, and her 50-year-old husband sought protection from the Paveena Foundation for Children and Women after being pursued around the country following her decision to back out of her surrogacy contract.
Orn said she was offered 350,000 baht for her service by the unnamed clinic - run by a foreigner named Victor and a Chinese man - who told her the transaction was legal, but nonetheless asked her to keep it secret. They also suggested she stay with them, but she refused, saying she had to care for her son.
Under the contract, Orn would be paid 15,000 baht a month and 230,000 baht upon delivery.
Insemination took place in April, but after a pair of much-publicized media reports about questionable surrogacy practices sparked a government crackdown in August, she told the agency she wanted to scrap the deal and raise the child herself.
It was then, after the contract supposedly having paid her at least 60,000 baht, her troubles began.
Orn's husband, identified only as Kaeo, said a foreign broker and a Thai woman repeatedly tried showed at their apartment looking for her. To keep her safe, Kaeo said he sent his wife to stay with relatives in another province, but the pair tracked her down, threatening her to carry out her end of the deal.
Another agency representative even showed up a her most-recent checkup at a local hospital, Kaeo said, forcing Orn to flee out the back door, wade through a muddy field and hide for nearly two hours before catching a bus to another province.
Finally, Kaeo said, three men claiming to be police officers showed up at his apartment Saturday, menacingly threatening him to bring his wife to the agency.
It was then the couple sought help from the Paveena Foundation, run by former health minister Paveena Hongsakula.
Mrs Paveena told them the three men were indeed police officers, so she planned to bring the couple to meet with deputy police chief Aek Angsananont Wednesday and seek legal action against the agency and the three officers.