Thailand: One of two Australian same-sex couples who were last week prevented from leaving Thailand with children carried by a surrogate mother have apparently been allowed to leave with their children.
Details are still limited but Australia’s ABC news reports that two same-sex couples have been caught up in Thailand’s sudden crack-down on commercial surrogacy arrangements involving Thai women and overseas nationals.
It is understood one of the two Australian same-sex couples has been allowed to leave and have traveled to Singapore, en route to Australia.
Other media sources have pointed out that the new Thai surrogacy laws mean same-sex parents will have to wait longer even though Australian same-sex couples who are waiting for the birth of their babies by Thai surrogates have been assured they will be allowed to bring their children to Australia provided they have a court order.
The news comes amid recent news that an Australian couple allegedly left their baby with Down syndrome with his surrogate in Thailand.
The Thai government had recently banned all new surrogacies and many surrogacy agencies were left with no option but to close. This recent development meant that couples who currently have surrogates carrying their babies or have embryos stored in Thai clinics were unsure if they would receive their children.
“The past month or so has been a trying time for many gay men who were doing surrogacy in Thailand,” Rodney Chiang-Cruise from Gay Dads Australia told MCV, according to gaynewsnetwork.com.au.
“The sudden change of practice with respect to surrogacy in Thailand had left many people anxious and concerned about whether they would be able to be at the birth of their children and whether they would be able to bring them home.
Sam Everingham, founder of Surrogacy Australia, told MCV there are some 100 gay singles and couples that have Thai surrogates pregnant or have embryos stored in Thai clinics.
“Thai agencies assure us that the care of currently pregnant surrogates is their primary priority,” he said.
He pointed out that it is likely that those waiting for their children to be born will have to go through the Thai court system to transfer legal parenting rights.
Sappasit Kumprabban, who took part in drafting Thailand’s new surrogacy laws, said punishment for commercial surrogacy will not be retroactive.
“Assuming the bill is implemented today, a surrogate child born before or after law enforcement will be automatically the legitimate child of the commissioning parents,” he told the Bangkok Post.
Where an egg provider is used, as in the case of gay men “the bill provides a route for the commissioning father to claim parental rights over the child” Sappasit said,