Tuesday, August 19, 2014

[Australia] "Same-sex couples using Thai surrogates wait anxiously to bring children home" by David Hudson

Gay Star News is also reporting further on the Surrogacy situation in Thailand for Gay Couples.  Thankfully there are some signs it is improving.

A crackdown on commercial surrogacy in Thailand has left some intended parents unsure of their legal rights 

Thailand’s military government has acted swiftly introduce laws to curb commercial surrogacy in the country.

Until now, commercial surrogacy was not illegal in Thailand but rules and regulations around its practice were unclear. This made it a popular surrogacy destination for couples – both opposite-sex and same-sex – from countries such as Australia, where commercial surrogacy is banned.

The crackdown follows the international scandal provoked by the baby Gammy case, when an Australian couple paid a Thai woman to carry twins. After the children were born, the couple allegedly opted to only take their baby girl back to Australia and chose to leave her baby brother – who has Down's Syndrome – with the surrogate.

Last week, Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) approved draft legislation that will implement a range of rules and regulations regarding surrogacy in the country. Surrogacy payments will be limited to intended parents providing financial assistance for a surrogate mother’s health only, and surrogacy would be allowed for legally married couples that file a petition through a Thai court requesting parental rights to any children born. In effect, this would ban commercial surrogacy.

This has prompted anxiety and confusion with some intended parents who have already started surrogacy proceedings with women in Thailand – particularly same-sex couples, who are not mentioned in the draft legislation.

However, surrogacy experts believe that those who have already started their surrogacy journey should be able to bring their future children home – but will first have to go through the process of filing a petition with a Thai court.

Rodney Chiang-Cruise from Gay Dads Australia told MCV [Melbourne Community Voice], ‘The past month or so has been a trying time for many gay men who were doing surrogacy in Thailand.

‘The sudden change of practice with respect to surrogacy in Thailand had left many people anxious and concerned about whether they would be able to be at the birth of their children and whether they would be able to bring them home.’

However, one of the people involved in drafting Thailand’s new surrogacy laws, said that criminal proceedings against those involved with commercial surrogacy would not be retroactive. Veteran child-rights activist Sappasit Kumprabban told the Bangkok Post, ‘Assuming the bill is implemented today, a surrogate child born before or after law enforcement will be automatically the legitimate child of the commissioning parents.’

Where an egg provider is used, as in the case of gay men, ‘the bill provides a route for the commissioning father to claim parental rights over the child.’

Following the announcement of the new surrogacy laws, surrogacy agencies in Thailand have already begun to close, and the lack of financial incentive is likely to see a sharp drop in the number of women expected to act as gestational carriers.

Anyone considering using a surrogate in Thailand is strongly advised to seek independent legal advice before going ahead with such arrangements.

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