Changes to the Law on Marriage and Family will allow close relatives to become surrogate mothers. Duong Dang Hue, director of the Civil and Economic Department at the Ministry of Justice explains the new reforms.
Surrogacy has been illegal in Viet Nam for many years, why does MoJ want to revise the Law on Marriage and Family to lift the ban?
The revised law we are drafting will include an article on surrogacy for humanitarian purposes. The idea itself originated with direct requests from the Vietnamese people.
In Vietnamese culture, many families consider it important to have children to continue the family name. In the north, it is not as important, but in the south, it is.
It is unfortunate that in our society, a number couples do not have the ability to reproduce and have children of their own. It is especially unfortunate when they themselves are an only child.
Many couples in need of surrogacy have resorted to asking hospitals for permission to engage in surrogacy. Many doctors reading these letters have felt the pain of these couples and want to help them, but do not want to break the law. This led to a number of doctors submitting a request to MoJ to consider the issue on humanitarian grounds.
I myself fully support the proposal. Surrogacy is the best solution to this heart wrenching problem and is of humanitarian significance. For women unable to have children, it gives them a chance to experience motherhood.
Don't you think that if surrogacy is legalised, some people will abuse the law to make money?
Yes, quite a few people have expressed concerns about this.
In my opinion, these allegations are not substantial. Despite the current ban, breaches are occurring. By legalising surrogacy, we can prevent harmful practices taking place in the shadows and ensure the infants of surrogate couples are receiving appropriate attention from doctors, even in the early stages of pregnancy.
This is good for babies and surrogates and we can address health complications as they arise throughout the pregnancy.
Will the new law stipulate conditions on who is eligible for surrogacy and to be a surrogate?
Absolutely, the law will provide the requirements for eligible couples and eligible surrogate mothers.
Here I just want to reiterate that surrogacy will only be granted to couples where the wives, for health reasons, are physically incapable of having children.
Eligible surrogates must be between the ages of 21 and 40 and be healthy. They must already have at least one child.
Most importantly, the two parties must consent that the planned surrogacy is solely for humanitarian purposes and not for financial gain.
The draft law will also stipulate that the surrogate mother must be a relative of either the husband or wife. In the event the couple cannot find any willing relatives, they may ask a non-relative woman. Do you think this is unreasonable?
Yes, during the drafting process we touched on this issue. We acknowledged there were pros and cons ideas of requiring the surrogate mother to be a relative.
However, my own position is consistent with the policy's requirements. I favour the notion that the surrogate mother must be a relative, for two reasons. First, to minimise the risk of commercialising surrogacy and second, to ensure the surrogate is more likely to empathise with the couple's desire to have children of their own.