Thai surrogacy laws mean same-sex parents will wait longer

Thai surrogacy laws mean same-sex parents will wait longer

LAST UPDATED // Friday, 15 August 2014 17:13 Written by // James Findlay

Victorian same-sex couples who are waiting for the birth of their babies by Thai surrogates have been assured they will be allowed to bring their children to Australia, but will have to obtain a court order.

The news comes amid a turbulent week following the ‘Gammy saga’ in which a Western Australian couple allegedly left their baby with Down syndrome with his surrogate in Thailand.

In light of the Thai Government’s recent ban on all new surrogacies and with many surrogacy agencies closing, couples who currently have surrogates carrying their babies or have embryos stored in Thai clinics were unsure if they would receive their children.

Rodney Chiang-Cruise from Gay Dads Australia told MCV the situation in Thailand had been very stressful for future parents.

"The past month or so has been a trying time for many gay men who were doing surrogacy in Thailand,” Chiang-Cruise said.

“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.

“It is welcome news that surrogacy advocates and the Australian government have been working behind the scenes with the Thai authorities to clarify existing surrogacy arrangements.”

Sam Everingham, founder of Surrogacy Australia, told MCV there are approximately 100 gay singles and couples that have Thai surrogates pregnant or have embryos stored in Thai clinics.
“Thai agencies assure us that the care of currently pregnant surrogates is their primary priority.

They are going to extraordinary lengths to deliver that care in a difficult political environment,” he said.

However, Everingham said it is likely those waiting for their children to be born will have to go through the Thai court system to transfer legal parenting rights.

“Surrogacy Australia respects the importance of new laws to better regulate Thai surrogacy and align practice with existing guidelines of the Thai Medical Council,” he said.

“This will ensure that clinics are better regulated and the global community has improved confidence in Thailand’s IVF practices.”

Sappasit Kumprabban, who participated in drafting Thailand’s new surrogacy laws, said punishment for commercial surrogacy will not be retroactive.

“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,” he told the Bangkok Post.

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


James Findlay

James Findlay

James Findlay is a Melbourne-based journalist and broadcaster who has worked in community media for many years. He has won awards for his work on The Naughty Rude Show on SYN, and can be heard on JOY 94.9's breakfast program, Triple Threat, and Hide and Seek - exploring sex, sexuality and self. He is currently completing his Master of Public Health specialising in Sexual Health at Melbourne University, and a tutor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.

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