International outcry over the Australian surrogate baby Gammy who was left behind in Thailand by his biological parents – who travelled back to Australia with Gammy’s twin sister – because he had Down Syndrome.
The global condemnation has shone a spotlight on the regions largely unregulated surrogacy business with local police cracking down on Thai clinics.
A raid on a condominium in the country’s capital, Bangkok has revealed another startling story.
Nine surrogate babies, their nannies, as well as a pregnant surrogate mother were found inside the premises.
A few days later police uncovered another four babies, police say all 13 children were fathered by the same man.
The Japanese businessman is believed to have fled the country and police have yet to comment on the health and wellbeing of the surrogate babies.
“He is the father of 13 surrogate babies and has been travelling in and out of Bangkok many times,” Police Colonel Napunwut Liamsanguan told reporters, referring to the unidentified Japanese man.
A tip off from one of the surrogate mothers prompted the police to crack down on the local clinic which is believed to have been used fro the in vitro fertilisation for the 13 surrogate babies.
However the clinic had been vacated and no documentation was left behind. While Thai police have confirmed the premises was licensed to perform IVF, they believe the clinic had violated the code of conduct.
If found guilty, the clinic’s head doctor could face a year imprisonment and a 20,000 baht (US$622) fine. If he is found to have no medical license to perform surrogacy he faces an additional three years in prison and a fine of close to US$2,000.
Thailand has no clear legal framework for surrogacy and commercial surrogacy is banned by the Medical Council of Thailand’s code of conduct. Yet there are 45 surrogacy clinics, 12 of them in the country’s capital, health officials have confirmed.
In light of yet another scandal, a draft law banning commercial surrogacy has been submitted to the military government’s head of legal affairs.
The draft law would ban commercial surrogacy altogether and those who violate the law could face up to a decade imprisonment and a 200,000 baht fine.
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