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Thailand Bans Foreigners’ Use of Surrogates in Midst of Gay Dads Case

Child with mother in Thailand

Juan Gomez-cc

John Burger - published on 07/31/15

America and Spanish man claim Thai woman reneged when she found out their status

In the midst of an ugly battle in which two homosexual men are trying to bring a girl out of Thailand to rear her in Spain, the Southeast Asian country is proceeding to ban foreigners’ use of surrogate mothers there.

The gay fathers’ case is one of several contentious cases, albeit the highest profile, that has led to the legislative action.

Fusion gave some of the background:

A child born in Thailand by surrogate last year was left behind after he was born with Down’s syndrome. It’s
still unclear whether that was because the couple refused to take him following the diagnosis or if the surrogate mother refused to let him go, but in the fallout the Thai government decided to ban the country’s “womb-for-hire” industry where they saw
many risks for Thai surrogate mothers and children.

In another case, a Japanese man fathered at least 13 children by Thai surrogates and then left them living with nannies in the country. Local police raided an apartment and found nine of the babies with nannies and a pregnant surrogate,
according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Twelve of his children born through surrogacy are now in protective custody, and he is
being investigated by authorities for possible human trafficking,
the Guardian reports.

The new rules takes effect this week.

An American man, Bud Lake, and his Spanish boyfriend, Manuel Santos, have already used a surrogate in Thailand to have a baby girl. The woman bore a child that was engendered from the sperm of one of the men and a separate egg donor. They say their daughter has been granted American citizenship but cannot leave Thailand without a passport and permission from the Thai government, according to NPR.

Again, according to Fusion:

The surrogate, Patidta Kusolsang, who they found through an agency called the New Life Global Network, had agreed give them the child after she was born, but apparently changed her mind at the last minute,
ABC reports. The couple think Kusolsang changed her mind when she found out they’re gay. They say they’re not leaving Thailand until they can bring their daughter back with them.

"This case is just one of a number of cases that continue to evidence that the entire practice of surrogacy is bad for all those involved," said Christopher T. White, director of research and education at the Center for Bioethics and Culture. "It’s buttressed on the coercion of women, particularly poorer ones, who very often aren’t fully informed of what they’re getting into when they sign up for the practice. The child in question then becomes involved in a tug-of-war between two parties, neither of whom necessarily has his or her best interests in mind, but instead, are motivated by their own desires."

The Thailand case, White added, shows that "regardless of how much one might think that regulation is the best solution, at the end of the day it doesn’t work."

"And when something is morally wrong, you don’t regulate it," he said. "You prohibit it."

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