Police Bust Alleged Illegal Surrogacy Ring, Thai Women Allegedly Gave Birth for Overseas Buyers

Caitlin Ashworth | The Thaiger | February 7, 2021

This article highlights an illegal Thai surrogacy ring posing as a cleaning company, with 3 alleged agents and 4 alleged surrogates arrested so far. Cybercrime police discovered the ring when foreign intended parents were unable to retrieve the babies because of coronavirus travel restrictions. International surrogacy is illegal in Thailand, so the women were brought to Cambodia for embryo transfer and returned to Thailand for the duration of the pregnancy and birth. Allegedly, Thai women were lured in through social media and then paid over 500,000 baht (about 17,000 USD) each to bear children for foreign buyers. 

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City Doctor Faces Surrogacy Charges

By Wassayos Ngamkham | Bangkok Post | May 27, 2020

Police are pressing charges against a doctor suspected of involvement in a transnational surrogacy ring in Bangkok, where surrogacy is illegal. One woman believed to be involved has been arrested, and police say they are preparing to arrest 10 additional people. Surrogates were hired in Thailand and sent to other countries for embryo transfer; most came back to give birth, though some were sent to China to deliver the babies.

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Article: Japanese Man Wins Sole Custody of 13 Surrogacy Children

Japanese Man Wins Sole Custody of 13 Surrogacy Children
By Daniel Hurst | The Guardian | Feb. 20, 2018

the guardianIn a saga that started in 2014, one of the richest men in Japan has just been granted custody of children he commissioned from Thai gestational mothers. In its ruling, the central juvenile court “found the father had no history of bad behaviour and would provide for the children’s happiness.”

This case first came to light in the regulatory upheaval following the case of Baby Gammy in Thailand, and resulted in the country’s eventual ban on international commercial surrogacy. It continues to raise questions as, according to Sam Everingham, a director of the Australia-based consultancy Families Through Surrogacy, an example of “an unacceptable abuse of the limited pool of gestational surrogates globally” and, more broadly, the ethics of a practice that does not protect the rights of the women and children involved.

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Article: Surrogacy Problem Sneaks Across the Border

Surrogacy Problem Sneaks Across the Border
By The Nation | April 25, 2017

Following up on the recent arrest of a Thai national carrying multiple vials of human semen into Laos, this editorial provides a comprehensive overview of surrogacy laws in the region.

Thailand, for example, largely permits surrogacy between blood relatives; Cambodia’s temporary guidelines, which allow foreign intended parents to legally take their children out of the country, will soon be replaced with a permanent law; and Vietnam amended its Marriage and Family Law in 2015 to only allow “altruistic surrogacy”. Their proximity – see map alongside, with Thailand represented in white – and inconsistent law positions Laos and Myanmar as the new hubs on the block.

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Article: Thai Police Arrest Man Smuggling Semen into Laos

Thai Police Arrest Man Smuggling Semen into Laos
By BBC | April 21, 2017

After India, Nepal, Thailand, and Cambodia closed their doors to international commercial surrogacy, Laos is stepping up to the front of the line.

This article covers the recent arrest of a man carrying vials of human semen destined for a fertility clinic in the country’s capital. He admits having done so 12 times in the last year, making clear, yet again, the mobility of the practice across geographical borders and its adaptive agility in the face of changing laws.

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Journal: Transnational Reproductive Travel

Transnational Reproductive Travel
By International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, Vol. 7, No. 2 | University of Toronto Press | 2014

The International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics provides a forum within bioethics for feminist thought and debate. It is sponsored by the International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, and includes feminist scholarship on ethical issues related to health, health care, and the biomedical sciences.

Contributors to vol. 7, no. 2, titled Transnational Reproductive Travel, explore questions and ethics related to international commercial surrogacy, in countries such as Canada, Thailand, Japan, and Denmark. The issue also includes a commentary on the Hague Convention and a review of “Breeders: A Subclass of Women,” by Jennifer Lahl from Stop Surrogacy Now.

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Article: The Billion Dollar Babies

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaperThe Billion Dollar Babies
By Vandy Muong and Will Jackson | The Phnom Penh Post | Jan. 2, 2016

With commercial surrogacy banned in India, Nepal, and Thailand, this article takes a closer look at Cambodia as the next destination. It explores the legal and ethical status of the practice, concluding on a message of “buyer beware” as people considering surrogacy are warned about the risks of not being able to take children home or being charged with human trafficking.

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Article: Shifting Surrogacy Laws Give Birth to Uncertainty

Shifting Surrogacy Laws Give Birth to Uncertainty
By Brad Bertrand | Nikkei Asian Review | Dec. 26, 2015

Excerpt:

Whether Malaysia passes a ban on surrogacy or not, would-be parents are likely to find ways to arrange births somewhere in Asia as the trade moves on.

After legal crackdowns in Thailand and Nepal, this article follows the regional growth of surrogacy in Malaysia and Cambodia, both of which “lack comprehensive legal frameworks to regulate” the practice. With a focus on Malaysia, the author explores the country’s attempts at legislation, including a draft federal law on assisted reproductive technologies.

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Article: The Dwindling Options for Surrogacy Abroad

The Dwindling Options for Surrogacy Abroad
By Danielle Preiss and Pragati Shahi | The Atlantic | May 31, 2016

This comprehensive article covers international commercial surrogacy laws around the world, with emphasis on and the implications of recent legal changes in India, Thailand, and Nepal. It follows an Australian couple, forbidden from paying gestational mothers in their own country, on a journey that spans Israel (the location of their agency), India (where their gestational mother lives), and Nepal (where she travels for embryo transfer and the birth) — with helpful insights on the effects of such arrangements on the children that are caught in the middle.

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Article: Gay Couple Win Custody Battle Over Thai Surrogate Mother

Gay Couple Win Custody Battle Over Thai Surrogate Mother
By Oliver Holmes | The Guardian | April 26, 2016

the guardianThis article follows up on a case in Thailand involving a same-sex couple that won a legal battle against the gestational mother who gave birth to their daughter, but refused to sign the paperwork to allow the baby to leave the country when she found out they were gay. It also provides links to articles covering the case of Baby Gammy and a 24-year old Japanese businessman who fathered 16 children with Thai gestational mothers – both of which led to the country’s current ban on the practice.

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For additional background on the case, read more by Oliver Holmes at The Guardian.