Offshore Babies: The Murky World of Transnational Surrogacy
By Amel Ahmad | Al Jazeera | Aug. 11, 2014
The case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning their child with his Thai surrogate mother after discovering he had Down syndrome — and taking home his healthy twin — has turned global attention to the murky underworld of international surrogacy.
Such cases have raised ethical and legal dilemmas, which experts say are the inevitable consequences of an unregulated multibillion-dollar industry dependent on impoverished women in developing countries providing a “product” — a child — so desperately wanted by would-be parents in wealthier nations.
In Baby Gammy’s case, which made international headlines this month, the boy’s Australian parents are claiming that the Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, refused to release the child into their custody and that they lacked the legal right to force her to do so.
This article provides a global overview of laws related to international commercial surrogacy, with a focus on Thailand. It delves into issues specific to the rights of children – such as citizenship and legal parentage – and links to the work being done by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, an intergovernmental organization, on the legal challenges posed by the practice.
Read a report, Global Surrogacy Practices, published by Marcy Darnovsky and Diane Beeson, summarizing discussions on global surrogacy at the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy, The Hague, August 2014.