Thailand Government Bans Surrogacy For Foreign Parents And Others

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

flag-of-thailandIn 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

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

22 thoughts on “Thailand Government Bans Surrogacy For Foreign Parents And Others”

  1. I have permission to relate this. BarkinDog may not be back on the blog until he recovers from some disease that he and his half blind pal got while off traveling. It sounds like Ebola. The half blind pal is in some place called Barnes and I don’t know what BarkinDog meant by that term. BarkinDog is in a kennel.

  2. It is clear that some of you humans believe that the sole or primary purpose of sexual intercourse is to breed. We dogs only can breed when the bitch is fertile or what you all call “in heat”. But that does not mean that dogs don’t enjoy it for its own sake. I would have HumpinDog come on the blog and explain his views but he is out humpin. Of course, if you have sex for fun and pleasure and for love and you purposely employ devices to prevent an egg being fertilized then you might know what I mean and own up to that aspect of life. Family Value is grocery store. Meanwhile follow the admonition of BarkinDog and porkem if ya gottem.

  3. David says this in comparison to slavery:

    ‘And so now we have freed people to wander around aimlessly in society, homeless and unemployed. Yeah, I guess to you that must seem like a really superior system.”

    Yet another wonderful value from a right wing commenter. It’s an astounding thing to find someone who finds something positive in slavery in 2015 in America.

    Forge on, David! You set a wonderful example of all that’s good in Republican family values!

  4. Jill:

    “Nick, The desire to pass on genes isn’t primal, it’s a product of patriarchy.”

    I disagree that wanting a biological child is patriarchal. As a woman, I understand the intense desire to feel life growing inside your womb. There is nothing wrong with that. I am pro adoption, but no one needs to apologize or defend their choice of whether they bear or adopt a child. Both women and men grieve when they have fertility troubles. Most women can be very hard on themselves when they have trouble conceiving. Some adopt, some try fertility or surrogate methods first, and others just remain childless. It’s a personal decision.

    1. Karen S.

      Do you really think so? I did not personally care much but the Fathers (My Husbands) seemed to care a great deal.

      Were you older because I was young and I was scared to death and pressured. After the first child I felt the biological urge kick in.

      Just curious.

  5. Nick, The desire to pass on genes isn’t primal, it’s a product of patriarchy.

    Humans can think things out and they can stop doing bad things that they were taught to do by their society or religion. We have the capacity to challenge even deeply held ideas and change how we act.

    Slavery was believed to be inevitable in human society. Although it is still quite prevalent, to include in this society, many people have come to challenge the “rightness” of slavery. Before it would be unthinkable that there wouldn’t be slaves. Most cultures had slaves and it was considered “normal”.

    We are used to using children for all sorts of bad ends. We can learn to do better by them and we should do so.

    1. Jill wrote: “The desire to pass on genes isn’t primal, it’s a product of patriarchy.”

      Really? What is your evidence for this?

      Every organism has a primal urge to reproduce and thereby pass on genes. It is unquestionably universal and experimentally demonstrated to be a stronger drive than eating food. Societal structure around the male sex has nothing to do with it.

      Jill wrote: “Humans can think things out and they can stop doing bad things that they were taught to do by their society or religion.”

      Are you suggesting that reproduction is evil and something taught by society and religion?

      Now I am curious how you would characterize same sex relations? ????

      Jill wrote: “Slavery was believed to be inevitable in human society.”

      And so now we have freed people to wander around aimlessly in society, homeless and unemployed. Yeah, I guess to you that must seem like a really superior system.

  6. I understand that Australian law made commercial surrogacy illegal before Thailand did, which is why Aussies have been flocking over to Thailand for surrogacy.

  7. Karen, I believe in the right of gay couples to adopt and use surrogacy. But, Thailand does not. I am also a believer in sovereignty. Their country, their laws.

  8. Jill, I agree w/ some of what you say, particularly about adopting. But, the desire to pass on ones genes is primal. I cannot judge someone for doing that even though I am a strong adoption advocate.

  9. Pogo – I did not know that Thailand faced the same population collapse as Japan. It’s a serious problem, where there are not enough young workers to support the aging generations.

    It is troubling that Thailand has developed a booming business in women renting out their wombs for surrogacy. On the one hand, I support surrogacy as a means for couples with fertility issues to have a child. I know a woman who was a surrogate twice. The last time she delivered twins for a Japanese couple. She said it was so moving to help people in such a life changing way.

    On the other hand, in struggling economies like Thailand, you see women making difficult choices to stay afloat. Sex trafficking and pedophile tours are common. My worry is that women are becoming surrogates because they can’t make ends meet, not because they’re moved to help a couple have a child. Here in the US, there are strict legal procedures for surrogacy, and reputable companies thoroughly screen the surrogates as well as the couple, to avoid cases we read about in the news of surrogates keeping the baby in states where surrogacy is not legally protected. But there is nothing illegal here for a woman to surrogate just for the money. In Thailand, where are the babies going? Do they even know, or just bear the children and hand them over to whomever comes to get them? Are the women getting proper medical care during pregnancy and delivery? I honestly do not know the state of surrogacy in Thailand.

    This also sounds like there is the added element of Thailand opposing same sex couples having children.

    If Thailand improves its economy, surrogacy will lose some of its economic appeal. I do think they need laws in place to protect against abuses, but those need to be carefully thought out.

  10. Pogo, Great comment. The juxtaposition of your informative comment, and the comment prior to yours, says it all!

  11. Very interesting piece. Countries go through periods where they feel they are being taken advantage of by more prosperous countries. We learned this going through the adoption process. Certain countries get “hot” w/ childless people from more affluent countries coming in droves to adopt. Then, after awhile, the pride of the adoptee country kicks in and they start making adoption more difficult. We hit Colombia @ the right time. Shortly after we adopted our son they started restricting adoption by US and Europeans. Putin recently did that in Russia.

    This law is a variation on the aforementioned pathology. Surrogacy has become more desirable for infertile couples the last couple decades. People like to go to foreign countries for some of the same reasons as going there for adoptions. The chances of the mother doing every adoptive parents worst nightmare, coming back to take the child, is much less likely. But, the dynamic of pride still is in play. The “we don’t want you rich foreigners coming in and taking advantage of us” is the same as the adoption dynamic. And as we know, pride is one of the 7 Deadly Sins.

  12. First it is wrong to discriminate against gay couples. It is also wrong to discriminate based on class. Surrogacy is usually reserved for the wealthy to buy the bodies of the poor and as such, it should end.

    Is the point of having a child to pass on one’s genes? I should hope not, yet this seems to be foremost in the mind of many parents. I would think that loving a child would be the reason to have one. It seems ignorant and ugly to want a child for the reason that one wishes to express one’s own genes. That is the use of a child for the purpose of an adult. Children should not be a means to an end. They are an end unto themselves. The role of an adult in a child’s life is to provide love and care, to help them flourish. Children are not adult’s “gene carriers”.

    Wealthy people use economic desperation to buy the bodies of poor women for incubation of their gene carrier. This is a double misuse of the woman and the child. There is a reason that the “defective” child was discarded–it was an improper gene carrier. Poor women go through multiple hormone injections in order to serve as a gene carrier incubator for wealthy people. This is not an acceptable risk. The poor women’s rights do not matter either. Should she want to keep the child she bore or even have visitation with her or him– tough crap. The poor women are nothing but carriers. This is such an ugly view of women.

    Surrogacy can be an act of love but usually it is an act of economic desperation. ENOUGH. There are many children who need homes. Why not give them one and love them? If you are only able to love a child who has your genes they I would say you are not loving that child, you are loving the idea of passing on your genetic code. That is a horrible reason to have a child.

  13. The reason for the law is much simpler, and more important for the country than gays or Down’s syndrome.

    Thailand has a fertility rate of 1.41 (2012, latest figure) children born per woman,far below the replacement rate of 2. That rate has declined rapidly in the last few decades from the 1962 rate of 6.16.

    As a result, the nation is facing a demographic spiral, becoming top-heavy with elderly and, for a relatively poor (and often politically unstable) country, unable to afford a decline in young people.

    As a result, it makes no sense to ship out their babies or permit wombs to be rented. Absent some turnaround, they face demographic and therefore political collapse in 2 generations.

  14. I like the story, a Darren, but if you’re trying top James Joyce with that first sentence, you’re only about 4330 words short of his line in Ulysses.

  15. From what I could see that locally same sex couples are not tolerated in localities like they are from foreign nations so maybe this is a way to slow down same sex unions.

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