Thailand bans commercial surrogacy

TheGuardian.com – February 24, 2015

Thailand’s parliament has passed legislation banning commercial surrogacy, putting a halt on foreign couples seeking to have children through Thai surrogate mothers.

The issue of surrogacy was in the spotlight in Australia last year after a Western Australian couple were accused of leaving a twin boy, known as Baby Gammy, with his surrogate mother after they discovered he had Down syndrome.

The legislation passed by Thailand’s national legislative assembly on Thursday closed loopholes in the country’s public health laws that enabled commercial surrogacy to thrive.

The new law bans all foreign and same-sex couples from seeking surrogacy services in the country.

Only married heterosexuals with at least one Thai partner are allowed to use surrogates. There are no fees allowed for the service and the surrogate mothers must be Thai and over 25 years old.

The surrogate mothers are also required to be relatives of either the husband or wife.

The legislation also includes a ban on advertising and promotions, and shuts down surrogate agents and unregistered clinics.

The Baby Gammy case made headlines in August 2014 when Thai surrogate Pattaramon Chanbua alleged West Australian couple Wendy and David Farnell had abandoned Gammy and returned to Western Australia with his healthy twin sister, Pipah.

Farnell, a convicted child sex offender, retained custody of Pipah late last year after an investigation by the WA Department for Child Protection.

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Anthony Brown

Anthony Brown

Attorney and Advocate at Time For Families
Who am I? On the deepest level, I am blessed. I have an amazing partner, who I have known since 1989 and been married to since 2004. I am the donor dad of two beautiful daughters who have two moms who are equally amazing. My husband and I have expanded our family through surrogacy and have a seven-year old son. I have had three careers (acting, massage therapy and the law) and I am still discovering myself. I am the Board Chair of Men Having Babies. The one thing I know for sure is that life is about trusting your instincts. Family is an instinct.
Anthony Brown