Proposed amendment extends universal healthcare to cover surrogacy

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An impending amendment to the surrogacy law, governing technology-assisted reproduction, proposes the inclusion of any complications arising during pregnancy within the universal healthcare scheme (UHS). This legislation is slated for approval in the year’s third quarter.

Dr Sura Wisedsak, Department of Health Service Support (DHSS) Director-General, elaborated that the proposed coverage would span from conception through to a minimum of 30 days post-birth. The amendment is designed to shoulder the financial burden of any health issues that occur during pregnancy, childbirth, and the subsequent recovery period. The DHSS and the Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC), in collaboration with insurance industry associations, drafted this amendment.

Before reaching theCabinet, the bill will undergo scrutiny by the DHSS’ sub-committee on legal affairs and the government’s committee on medical technology-assisted reproduction. The Public Health Ministry’s permanent secretary chairs this government committee.

As per Dr Sura, approximately 700 surrogacy services have been rendered to aspiring parents grappling with reproductive issues since the surrogacy law was implemented seven years ago. In cases where couples only require assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and not surrogacy, foetal registration is mandatory, although a permit is not.

Currently, around 114 medical institutions are licensed to offer these services, with private hospitals and healthcare organisations operating approximately 60% of these, while state-run and teaching hospitals operate the rest, reported Bangkok Post.

While this enhanced legislation aims to assist individuals with reproductive health challenges, law enforcement agencies are tasked with ensuring that legal surrogacy is not manipulated by human traffickers, Dr Sura added.

“Especially now that Thailand is an aged society, technology-assisted reproduction will play an important role.”

In related news, the One ID Card, Universal Healthcare initiative expanded to four provinces in Thailand, allowing citizens to access healthcare across various networks. The announcement was made by Dr Chonnan Srikaew on October 24 last year.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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