Surrogacy is a method or agreement whereby a surrogate agrees to carry a pregnancy for another person, who will become the newborn child’s parents after birth.
A Surrogate is a woman who agrees to carry a child for another person or couple.
The National Legislative Assembly of Thailand has passed The Protection of Children Born from Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act (ART) in 2015. This act is designed to protect children born through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). It also sets the legal procedures for the spouses to follow in order to go through surrogacy. Parents whose child was born to a surrogate prior to the Act coming into force can apply for court approval to have it enforced retroactively.
With the new law, the couples who apply for the Assisted Reproductive Technology and surrogacy do not need to adopt the child born from Assisted Reproductive technology. The law recognizes the infertile couples as legal parents of the child.
The Act defines Assisted Reproductive Technology as any medical scientific procedure that removes eggs or sperm from a human body for the purpose of unnatural pregnancy, including artificial insemination of a third person. Surrogacy is “pregnancy by ART.”
Furthermore, the parties must use only the intended mother’s (or donor’s) egg and the intended father’s (or donor’s) sperm in creating the embryo. In other words, the parties may not use the surrogate mother‘s eggs for the surrogacy procedure.
Commercial surrogacy is strictly prohibited under the Act. Those found guilty of surrogacy involvement for profit and if anyone acts as an agent by requesting or accepting money, property, or other benefits in return for managing or giving advice about surrogacy will be liable to a huge fine and/or imprisonment.
The applicants seeking for surrogacy must be both Thai nationals and have a legal marriage, wherein the wife cannot get pregnant. If only one of the applicants is Thai, the couple must be legally married for at least 3 years.
The surrogate mother must be related to either applicant by blood, except either applicant’s parent or descendants of any degree. She should also have had a pregnancy before the surrogacy. Additionally, the surrogate mother must get the approval from her husband, if married.
The Act clearly states that the applicants will be the legal parents of the surrogate child. Therefore, they cannot deny the parentage of a child born through Assisted Reproductive Technology. The applicants and the surrogate mother must have a written agreement before the pregnancy occurs, indicating that the applicants will be the legal parents of the child.
Since Thailand Law does not recognize same-sex marriage, same-sex couples cannot pursue surrogacy. This act is also not applicable for single people who wish to have a child through this procedure.