Surrogacy Services

Thailand passed a law to make surrogate pregnancies for foreigners illegal

Thursday. Previously, Thailand was one of the last Asian nations where surrogacy was still legal. Thailand's legislature enacted the law, which criminalizes the practice of being a surrogate mother for commercial purposes, and bars foreign surrogacy customers from seeking such services in the country.

Thailand Does Not Want to Be a Surrogacy Hub

The law is intended to prevent Thailand from becoming known as a "surrogacy hub," where foreigners can go to get a baby. Last year, several scandals erupted in Thailand. In one, an Australian couple was accused of abandoning a baby with Down's syndrome. In another, a Japanese man fathered 16 babies or more through Thai surrogate mothers.

Until now, Thailand had not come on board with other Asian nations that previously made the practice of commercial surrogacy illegal. However, the new law states that doctors could lose their medical licenses if they offer paid surrogacy services.

The Thai legislature approved the measure almost unanimously with a vote of 160 to 2. Under the law, surrogacy is still legal, but only if the surrogate can prove that the parents of the fetus are infertile. Also, Thais who have a foreign spouse must be married for at least three years before they can seek surrogacy services.

Surrogacy Law Violators Face 10 Years in Prison

Individuals who are convicted of disobeying the Thai surrogacy law could be punished with up to 10 years in prison and $6,100 in fines.

American couples who are seeking a surrogate to give birth to their child may want to investigate the various laws that apply to their situation. Complications could arise in a surrogacy if -- for example -- the surrogate changes her mind and decides she wants to keep the baby. Alternatively, couples may want to know what will happen if they change their minds and later decide that they do not want the baby. While these complications seem like unspeakable scenarios, they can and do happen. Preparing in advance, and making certain that all legal agreements are sound, is essential during any kind of surrogacy or adoption plans.