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, surrogacy is legal in the country

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Campaigners in Ireland are moving towards the ban of surrogacy in the country reports Irish Times.

Jennifer Lahl, founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture in California, spoke in Dublin at an event held by the Iona institute, a group also campaigning against surrogacy.

Lahl said that surrogacy was unsafe for women as it exploits and damages their mental health.  She added that commercial surrogacy deprives children of “natural parentage” and treats them as commodities.

As the law currently stands in Ireland, the surrogate is the lawful mother of the child. If she is not married, she is the sole guardian but if she gets married, then her husband is the lawful father according to newstalk. There is no legislation to cover legal issues arising from surrogacy in Ireland.

This move follows several others in countries around the world. Recent reports show that Cambodia is also looking to ban surrogacy. Under Thailand surrogacy law, commercial surrogacy is banned, but married couples of the opposite sex can use a surrogate.

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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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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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Armenia Amends Surrogacy Law

Surrogates are to have no parental rightspregnant-214522_960_720

PanArmenian reports that the Armenian parliament has approved changes to a law on reproductive health and reproductive rights of an individual on Thursday.

According to the report, specific changes were made under surrogacy, which affirm that the surrogate has no rights to the child. A woman is allowed to have two surrogates in her lifetime. However, foreigners are not allowed to use Armenian women as surrogates for their babies.

Chaninat & Leeds lawyers specialize in family law in Thailand and offers legal advice and assists in drafting of agreements for surrogates and intended parents in Thailand

Surrogacy laws vary from country to country. In some countries such as Vietnam and Ukraine, surrogacy is legal whereas in England, the act of commercial surrogacy is illegal. In Thailand, commercial surrogacy is legal only among opposite sex, married Thai residents.

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