November 22, 2017

Australian Surrogate Babies Stuck in Cambodia

Surrogacy was flourishing in the country a year ago before the government banned it

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that up 10 surrogate babies with Australian biological parents are stuck in Cambodia because the government is refusing to issue exit visas.

According to the report, “The Cambodian government is refusing to issue exit visas for all surrogacy cases where the newborn babies have a foreign passport, in a developing human crisis in the country.”

The report also stated that the government “had previously warned that if intending Australian parents failed to present themselves to the authorities the government would not facilitate them bringing their babies to Australia.”

Cambodia’s Secretary of State at the Interior Ministry Chou Bun Eng, said that the government wants to ensure that promises made to the surrogate mothers are fulfilled and that the contract is completed.

Commercial surrogacy was flourishing in the country after it was banned in Thailand and India. However, government officials abolished the trade over human rights violation concerns.

Commercial surrogacy in Thailand is banned for foreigners, but couples residing in Thailand can choose to have a surrogate baby.

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Currently, no laws prevent commercial surrogacy in the country

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The Justice Ministry of Cambodia announced that it is investigating allegations of ongoing commercial surrogacy in the country reports Khmer Times.

The investigation is being led by Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana in collaboration with the police and Ministry of Health.

Vong Vathana said that the accusations were a problem that would not have taken place if Cambodia had laws preventing surrogacy.

“This is a problem that we must think about carefully because it will be more difficult in the future as we won’t know the exact identity of the child,” he is quoted as saying by Khmer Times.

He further said, “And we also need to have a law to prevent surrogacy services because it doesn’t happen from a person’s desire, but to do business related with children that we do not need in Cambodia.”

The statements were made at a three day workshop that launched the “Explanatory Note of Domestic Adoption,” a move that hopes to ensure adoptees are protected and placed in families that are able to take care of their needs.

Surrogacy is banned in many Southeast Asian countries. Surrogacy in Thailand was banned for foreigners recently due to a controversy that arose when a western couple refused to take the child because it was born with a genetic defect.

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Cambodia to Draft First Surrogacy Laws

UN envoy to help draft the laws

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Image Source: pixabay.com

The Cambodian Daily reports that U.N. envoy Rhona Smith will help draft the country’s first surrogacy laws.

Smith is a rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia and is on a ten day visit to talk about issues surrounding the country including crimes against women and children.

Cambodia’s ministry spokesman said that Smith encouraged the idea of regulating laws on commercial surrogacy in Cambodia.  According to Cambodian Daily, the ministry has been working with Australian officials in regulating the trade and more than 50 surrogacy brokers have already advertised the service in the country.

The aim of establishing the law is to prevent surrogates from being taken advantage of by brokers and to avoid instances in which foreign couples refuse to take a baby born with a genetic defect.

Thailand abolished commercial surrogacy last year because the western couple who had used the services of a local woman to have twins, refused to take one of the twins because the child suffered from Down’s syndrome. Surrogacy law in Thailand allows commercial surrogacy only for opposite-sex married Thai residents.

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