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International surrogacy laws called into question

Friday, 23 January 2015

happy family walking along the beachFollowing the recent situation surrounding Gammy, the baby allegedly abandoned to its surrogate mother in Thailand,  the rules governing international surrogacy have been called into question.

The surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanubua, alleged that a couple from Western Australia abandoned Gammy when they discovered he had Down’s syndrome, but took his healthy twin sister. The Australian couple have denied knowledge of Gammy, now seven months old, insisting that their surrogate daughter didn’t have a brother, and that they had experienced issues with the surrogacy agency they went through. They since confirmed that they were aware of Gammy’s existence but his surrogate mother refused to hand him over.

It was suggested that the legalities involving the surrogate agency used were unclear, and that the regulations with the agency in question needed further examination. As such, it is now suggested that surrogacy laws in Australia also needed to be re-evaluated in order to avoid a similar situation.

Currently, complicated international surrogacy laws are leaving potential parents and children vulnerable, with international surrogacy being called impersonal and commercial. Rules of surrogacy differ from country to country. Whilst surrogacy is legal in the UK, the law regulates that surrogate mothers are only paid reasonable expenses during the pregnancy term, leading to a shortage of available surrogates. As such, many would-be parents are going overseas to use a foreign surrogacy where the regulations aren’t explicitly clear.

India is a popular destination for surrogacy as it’s legal and the costs are significantly lower in comparison to other developed nations. It is also legal to pay for surrogacy in the Ukraine, Georgia and Russia, however Thailand are now reassessing their commercial surrogacy laws announcing that surrogates need to be a blood relative.

For more information on international surrogacy, read our Guide to international surrogacy.

If you would like to discuss an international surrogacy arrangement, or if you are thinking about any surrogacy arrangements then speak with our experienced surrogacy solicitor, Jeetesh Patel.

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