Illegal surrogacy ring busted in Bangkok as police raid three healthcare facilities

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod.

A special investigation team (DSI) raided three healthcare facilities, apprehending an operation secretly arranging surrogate mothers. The illegal surrogacy operation involved Thai women paid to carry pregnancies before the infants were sent abroad. Crucial documents were found during the raid, and legal proceedings are underway.

The illegal surrogacy operation news broke out today, at 6.30am. The DSI, under the supervision of Deputy Director Piya Raksakul, assigned Thinwut Silapat, Director of Foreign Affairs and International Crime, together with Arunsri Witchawut and Kanoklada Charoensiri, Special Case Management Directors, to raid three healthcare facilities. They were suspected of secretly arranging surrogate mothers before sending the children overseas.

The first illegal surrogacy facility located in the Ngam Wong Wan area, Chatuchak District, Bangkok, was found to be involved in the case. A doctor offering Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) services was identified to be related to the case and had performed body examinations, pregnancy care and childbirth for illegal surrogate mothers between 2018 and 2020.

At the second illegal surrogacy facility, situated on New Petchburi Road, Bang Kapi District, a part-time doctor offering ART services was found to be linked to the case. Documents related to embryos and foetuses under the care of the doctor involved in the case were discovered during the search.

The third illegal surrogacy facility on Pleonchit Road, Lumphini, Pathumwan, Bangkok had connections with a doctor involved in the case and had illegal surrogate mothers come in for body examinations before going abroad for embryo transfers. The search resulted in the discovery of passports of illegal surrogate mothers and children born from surrogacy, which had not been authorised or certified for ART services.

Piya assigned Thinwut Silapat, Director of Foreign Affairs and International Crime, Special Case investigation officers and forensic detectives to arrest Sunate (surname withheld on request) in Nong Khai province. Sunate was arrested according to the arrest warrant of criminal court no. 2643/2023 on charges of involvement in international criminal organisations and conducting commercial surrogacy.

In Sunate’s residence, an account book listing names of illegal surrogate mothers and income from arranging surrogacy was found, reported KhaoSod.

Sunate was part of an international illegal surrogacy operation, responsible for arranging for Thai women to act as paid surrogate mothers for foreigners. With the land property of over 100 acres, surrogate pregnancies, when conducted legally, are permitted for those struggling with infertility according to the Protection of Children Born through Assisted Reproductive Technology Act, 2015. However, commercial surrogacy is prohibited. Violation of this law by all parties involved, including the ordering party, middleman, doctor, scientist, surrogate mother, and those involved in the operation, is considered a criminal offence and will be prosecuted.

Illegal surrogacy creates several societal issues, such as human trafficking markets, where children born from surrogacy may be sold for organ trafficking, prostitution, or the sex industry.

In many instances, children born with physical disabilities are abandoned, a dehumanising act that infringes upon human rights. The DSI is committed to opposing illegal surrogacy operations and taking decisive action against those involved in these violations.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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