In some of Thailand’s poor villages, there is a new business arrangement that is becoming ever so popular. People from all over Asia are headed to Thailand to seek out surrogate mothers. These families pay Thai women between $10,000 and $20,000 for successful pregnancies, which equates to a monthly allowance hovering around $450, along with free housing in Bangkok. Thailand has publicized itself as a medical tourist destination, providing cheaper options for people all over the world. Thailand is quickly racing up to take the place of the United States as the world’s largest paid surrogacy destination.
This is becoming a cross-border business for Thailand, as people from countries such as the US, Australia, and many Asian countries are participating in these business agreements. The industry is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The surrogacy is funded by childless couples who come to Thailand to have local doctors implant embryos into the wombs of local women, who are then paid to carry to term. The market roared due to trends of couples having children later in life, where carrying a pregnancy to term typically becomes more complicated. In Thailand, transnational agencies have flourished by putting would-be parents in touch with potential surrogates. Currently the business is growing, but without regulations governing the practice, there have been legal issues with the process.
With its massive growth in Thailand, officials are starting to look into regulations for the industry. Talk of putting legal restrictions and laws on the new market has caused some panic and worry from people who are currently tied up in a surrogacy contract and others who work within the business. The laws may be well intended but have the potential to send the practice underground into the black market. This could lead to all kinds of problems for the country, feasibly leading to human trafficking or kidnapping to get children out of the country. Thailand must decide whether to regulate the commercial surrogacy industry or to outlaw it completely.
Check out the Thailand resource page to see the Ministry of Public Health resource and also to keep up to date on other news happening in Thailand. Let us know what your thoughts and feelings are on commercial surrogacy in Thailand by leaving a comment below.