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Dreams of children shattered as Thailand closes All IVF Center

11.08.2014
Dreams of children shattered as Thailand closes All IVF Center

About 50 Australian couples' dreams of having surrogate children have been shattered after Thai authorities linked their Bangkok clinic with a suspected international “baby factory” trafficking syndicate said to be behind at least 14 babies destined for overseas.

In the past few decades, medical tourism has been gaining momentum in Thailand. Medical tourists choose Thailand as a destination because of several factors: affordable costs, qualified and English-speaking medical professionals, accredited clinics and good hospitality services. In this context, Thailand appears as an opportunity for numerous couples that are seeking to start their families through surrogacy.

Traditional surrogacy is not very common in Thailand. Instead, most people go through gestational surrogacy specifically to avoid any genetic link between the surrogate and the child that may weaken the commissioning party’s position in the event of a legal dispute.

The forced closure of the most popular IVF clinic for Australians in the Thai capital, All IVF Center, has raised fears Thai surrogate mothers will abort their babies after losing support from the centre. An estimated 50 Australian couples have agreements with the clinic in central Bangkok but now cannot contact their Thai surrogates. The fate of the embryos of Australians stored at the clinic is unknown.

Thailand’s strict military rulers intensified the crackdown after the plight of Gammy, a six-month old baby with Down syndrome, whose Australian biological parents left him behind in Thailand  but took his twin sister to Bunbury in Western Australia.

Until the crackdown, Thailand’s surrogacy business was largely unregulated and the country became the go-to Asian place for surrogacy and IVF gender selection procedures. More than 40 clinics across Thailand have been raided as part of the crackdown.

In the wake of the baby Gammy scandal, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security will meet the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to propose a surrogacy bill to regulate this growing industry which caters mostly to foreign intended parents. It is very likely that the legal affairs and justice committee of the NCPO will enact in the next few weeks an acceptable legal framework on surrogacy based on a bill approved by the cabinet in May 2010 and left over after the House dissolution.

Considering this fact, many Australians now will have to actively look for new markets in dreams of having surrogate children. Surrogacy legislation varies from country to country. Experts say that countries popular with parents for surrogacy arrangements are the US, India, Eastern Europe.

Based on: smh.com.au

Tags: medical tourism, surrogate children, medical tourists in Thailand, IVF clinic, surrogate mothers, surrogacy

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