Thailand's ruling military is considering draft laws
to ban commercial surrogacy, creating uncertainty for Australians who
already have pregnant surrogates in the country.
The changes come
in the wake of controversy surrounding a West Australian couple accused
by their Thai surrogate of abandoning their newborn son - known as baby
Gammy, who has Down syndrome - and only taking home his healthy twin
It was later revealed father David Farnell has 22 child
sex convictions, including unlawful and indecent dealing with girls as
young as seven when he was in his 20s, but he says the girl is "100 per cent safe" in his care.
newly formed national assembly, which is heavily dominated by members
of the military, has now been handed the draft laws.
When approved, they will mean surrogacy can only take place when a married couple and a relative are involved.
The laws may also include a provision for a baby to remain with the
surrogate for between three and six months for breastfeeding.
The surrogate will also be considered as the child's legal mother.
ruling army general does not want Thailand to be a surrogacy hub and is
expected to move quickly to outlaw the practice, essentially ending a
lucrative foreign market.
It remains unclear what the laws will mean for Australians who already have pregnant surrogates in Thailand.
Impoverished Thai mother Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, told the ABC earlier this month she gave birth to twins after agreeing to be a surrogate for Mr Farnell and his wife Wendy, with a promised payment of about $16,000.
She claims the couple rejected Gammy and returned to Australia with his healthy sister. The pair deny abandoning the boy.
Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said she was in contact with authorities in Thailand about the issue.
Thai authorities said Ms Chanbua would not be charged with any offence.
the doctor and clinic owner involved in the surrogacy case would be
prosecuted - they could face up to three years in jail.
Since the case of baby Gammy came to light, a number of fertility clinics have been raided and shut down.