Thailand probes 100 surrogacy cases involving Australians

Bangkok :  Thai authorities are probing at least 100 surrogacy cases that possibly involve parents from Australia who had commissioned services of surrogate mothers in the country to carry their children, a top official said, as the government is proposing tighter controls on commercial surrogacy.

The move by the Department of Health Service Support (HSS) came after an Australian couple allegedly abandoned their baby suffering from Down’s Syndrome with a Thai surrogate mother.

Australia has called on Thailand to allow for a transition period before implementing any ban on commercial surrogacy to enable Australians receive children still being carried by Thai surrogate mothers.

The number of these surrogate babies is expected to be more than 100.

The HSS’ legal division head Pattarapol Jungsomjatepaisal said surrogate mothers may have received services at the same hospital that provided care in the case of baby Gammy, who was reportedly abandoned by his Australian parents.

In a previous raid on the hospital, records of more than 100 surrogacy cases were found and authorities are investigating them to find out which doctors were involved, Pattarapol said. Doctors found to have breached Medical Council of Thailand regulations will face an ethics probe, he said.

Australian foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Saturday requested a transition period during talks with permanent secretary for foreign affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Myanmar’s capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

The Australian families have already paid thousands of dollars to agents and the surrogate mothers for the procedure. The request comes as Thailand is looking to legislate a bill, known as the Protection of Children Born as a Result of Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act, which will replace guidelines and fill voids in existing rules, media reports said.

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