Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thai surrogacy is now dead in the water

A couple of days ago I wrote about how there was a crackdown in Thailand about surrogacy and gender selection.

Yesterday there was a meeting between the various IVF clinics, the Thai Medical Council, lawyers and others. The outcome of the meeting is ominous for those who undertake surrogacy in Thailand: it is over.

In summary, surrogacy is now only recognised in Thailand if:

  • the intended parents are a heterosexual married couple
  • who are medically infertile
  • the surrogacy is altruistic
  • and the surrogate is a blood relative.
It is no surprise that this will exclude almost every foreigner from pursuing surrogacy in Thailand. For Australians, this is significant- as about 400 babies were born in Thailand via surrogacy in the year ended 30 June 2012 to Aussie intended parents, and that number is likely to have increased since then.

The ruling coming out of the meeting, bearing in mind that there is now a military junta in charge in Thailand, is that surrogacy will be illegal in Thailand if:

  • the intended parent or parents are unmarried under Thai law (i.e. de facto couples, same sex couples and singles are excluded)
  • any money is paid to the surrogate
  • the removal of the child from Thailand without permission of Thai authorities will breach Thailand's human trafficking laws.
What impact this will have on those with existing arrangements, and those with embryos in Thailand, will remain to be seen. It is likely that those with embryos in Thailand- where they have donor sperm or egg- will be unlikely to use those embryos in Australia, and if they want to be used may need to use them somewhere else, such as the USA. Whether embryos will be able to be exported from Thailand is unknown in the current environment.

Watch this space. 


  1. You can't say Thai surrogacy is dead.

    1. The current government is just a transition one and based their decision on the Human Trafficking Act.
    2. We believe the Human Trafficking Act doesn't apply and there are numerous Court decision in Thailand giving full and sole custody to foreign parents.
    3. the Human Trafficking Act is not new. The Law has not changed. It is an interpretation of the army, who are in power, that cause the problem. This is amplify by the medias, gossip and rumours.

    Some participants at the meeting in Bangkok do not have the same conclusions as you do. Thailand is not like a Australia or Europe. It will take some time to know what we happen with surrogacy in Thailand.

    Sebastian H. Brousseau, From Isaan Lawyers.

  2. Thank you Stephen Page for your efforts to provide relevant information to intended parents seeking surrogacy and for your blog resources. I agree that there are still several lingering unanswered questions regarding many transitional situations. It will be interesting to see the final version of the surrogacy draft law if it is ratified. As an insider in Thailand I can provide some additional information.

    The Human Trafficking Act is not the only law being employed by Thai officials as there are current Thailand laws and regulations on surrogacy and ART.

    The crackdown happening against clinics and doctors allegedly performing unlawful surrogacy procedures is based on the Sanatorium Act and the Medical Council's regulations. Many of the clinics and/or doctors operating did not have valid licenses. Furthermore, many of the doctors performing surrogacy procedures did so against Medical Council regulations which stipulate that an intended surrogate mother must be related to either of the intended parents, and that the woman who carries the surrogacy cannot be paid to do so.

    The Human Trafficking Act is relevant and only being employed by authorities in certain extreme cases like that of the suspicious Japanese man who allegedly fathered more than a dozen babies via surrogacy.

    On the other hand, the draft surrogacy laws, which have been in existence since 2004 but never ratified, are currently being reviewed by the government, so it does appear that there is a high possibility of the law changing soon.