Gay couples banned from using surrogates

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

New laws banning surrogacy in Thailand have come into effect this week, ending access previously available to gay couples.

The country’s Public Health Minister has announced that gay couples are now banned from using surrogacy services in Thailand.

“Homosexuals are no longer allowed to access the service because Thailand has not yet legalised same-sex marriage”, Rajata Rajatanavin told The Nation newspaper.

Under the new law – set to go into effect this week – a couple wanting to use a surrogate in Thailand must be “a man and a woman”, who have been legally married for at least three years with one or both holding Thai nationality, the Daily Mail reports.

Thai Public Health Ministry deputy Amnuay Gajeena said there were still 45 clinics offering the service to same-sex couples, but warned authorities will be shutting them down and making several arrests if they continue to do so.

Anyone who breaks the new law may be punished with up to 10 years in jail or a fine of up to 200,000 baht (£3650).

The selling of sperm, ovum and embryos are also banned, Mr Amnuay said.

The news comes after a US couple recently shared their plight at being refused consent to leave Thailand with their baby after their surrogate mother realised they were gay.

The surrogate handed over the baby girl to Gordon and Manuel Lake earlier this year – but ten days later, she refused to sign the documentation needed to allow the couple to obtain a passport for the infant.

The couple claim she is refusing to let them leave because she was unaware they were gay at the time of the birth and wants the baby to be brought up by an “ordinary couple”.

In May, a gay couple in the UK won a battle to have a baby girl conceived through surrogacy returned to them – after the mother claimed she did not know the men were gay before she gave birth.