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Monday, December 1, 2014

Thai bill to ban surrogacy for profit passes first read

BANGKOK--Thailand's parliament has voted to ban commercial surrogacy after outrage erupted over the unregulated industry following a series scandals including the case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning a baby with Down's syndrome.

A draft bill — which would see those caught profiting from surrogacy punished with up to ten years in prison — passed its first reading in the country's military-stacked parliament on Thursday, legislators said Friday.

“We want to put an end to this idea in foreigners' minds that Thailand is a baby factory,” lawmaker Wallop Tungkananurak told AFP.

“The bill was adopted with overwhelming support,” he added.

A copy of the bill seen by AFP also forbids “any middlemen or agencies ... receiving any assets or benefits” through the surrogacy process.

Under its current wording it is unlikely foreigners will be able to use Thailand as a surrogacy destination with the same ease they once enjoyed.

The bill — which will return to the kingdom's parliament in mid January for a second and third reading — does not outlaw surrogacies within families. A couple who cannot have a baby will be allowed to look for a relative to act as a surrogate.

If no-one can be found, they will then have to submit an application to a government agency who will look for a suitable surrogate.


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