By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
In what has become both controversial for several groups and will be likely frustrating for couples who have few options for having children of their own genetics, the Thai government has introduced legislation that bans foreign couples from utilizing the services of its citizens for surrogacy for commercial means and other types based upon demographics of the contracting parents. The government cities that it has concerns that their nation will become “The Womb of the World” where social and economic issues could be distressful to young women and cause issues with society as a whole.
Yet, the law seems to have become more than this. Additional restrictions levied affect specific demographics of married couples and for homosexual couples especially.
The military government’s appointed legislature voted 160-2 in favor of banning commercial surrogacy and to prevent others from engaging in this on a non-economic basis. The push for this legislation stemmed largely from two notorious surrogacy rows stemming from an Australian couple who abandoned a twin born with Downs Syndrome while bringing the other home to Australia. The second controversy generated from reports of a Japanese man having fathered sixteen children from Thai surrogates.
Under the newly enacted law, married Thai couples must prove that they are infertile and there are no fertile relatives willing to surrogate a child. For marriages of one Thai citizen and a citizen of another nation the matrimony must be at least three years in time.
The law also prohibits gay persons to engage in surrogacy services.
National Legislative Assembly Member Wanlop Tangkananurak stated in an Interview with the Associated Press:
“Surrogacy business leaves too much long-term trouble for Thailand, so we are banning foreign couples from seeking surrogacy in our country to avoid being a hub and prevent what we saw last year.”
The effect of this law is not merely domestic, yet has consequences to couples; especially those in Australia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong who face significantly higher costs associated with surrogacy in their homelands and many likely will be now financially forestalled due to the cost barrier. Thai women will lose a source of a good income available at their choosing and gay couples are forced into increasingly difficult means to experience a life with raising children.
The statute also targets doctors who accept compensation for commercial surrogacy face imprisonment of ten years and fines of 200,000 baht. ($6,100.00)
While the Thai Government can articulate a genuine interest in protecting society and young women from those having ill intent, this legislation on the surface certainly appears knee-jerk in reaction two only two incidents, and having the entirety of their nation restricted for what could be statistically irrelevant events. And, while at the same time using this as an opportunity to introduce riders that are equally as damaging to others.
By Darren Smith
Source: Deutsche Welle
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