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Commercial surrogacy bill passes the first reading

Yesterday (27th November) the National Legislative Assembly passed the first reading of a bill that seeks to outlaw commercial surrogacy. The first reading passed with 177 – 2 votes, six NLA members abstained.

The bill was approved by the National Council for Pease and Order in late August, the move came after widespread reports emerged of an Australian couple who left a Down syndrome baby with his Thai surrogate mother. David and Wendy Farnell hired a Thai surrogate who had twins, the pair took one child back to Australia and left the other one in Thailand, sparking raids on dozens of fertility clinics across Bangkok.

Eighteen MP’s have been appointed to review the legislation after it passed the first reading, signaling the determination of the Thai military rulers to shut down the booming surrogacy industry.

The bill seeks to regulate assisted reproductive technologies (ART) by setting up a committee to protect babies born through such methods. The committee would also be in charge of regulating and monitoring ART services and ethics.

The bill also seeks to punish women who agree to become surrogate mothers for money. Each would be liable to a maximum 10-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of Bt200,000.

A surrogate mother would also be required to sign a contract with the biological parents that the baby will become the child of the parents legally.

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