Thai health chief champions surrogacy for same-sex couples

Photo courtesy of Pattaya Mail

In a move anticipating the impending legalisation of same-sex marriage in Thailand, the nation‘s Health Department Director-General Atchara Nithiapinyasakul is pushing for a revision of the Surrogacy Act.

The aim is to open the doors for homosexual couples to adopt a baby through a surrogate mother, addressing not just personal desires but also a national crisis.

As Thailand grapples with an alarming decline in birthrates, Director General Atchara proposes a comprehensive strategy to tackle the looming crisis. With annual deaths now surpassing births, the nation faces the spectre of a severe shortage of indigenous workers and heightened international competition for guest workers from neighbouring countries.

The existing Surrogacy Act, stringent after past scandals involving Thai doctors and Chinese agents in international surrogacy syndicates, currently restricts commercial surrogacy and limits heterosexual couples who have been married for at least three years.

At least one partner must be a Thai national, and the surrogate must be a willing female relative acting solely for altruistic reasons. All other avenues, including surrogacy tourism and cross-border surrogacy, are banned, as is surrogacy for same-sex couples.

Dr Atchara contends that urgent measures are needed to combat the plummeting birth rates, emphasising that by the century’s end, 14 million working-age Thais could bear the responsibility of caring for nearly two million pensioners. Her proposals to the Thai Cabinet encompass not only the revision of surrogacy laws but also advocate for paid maternity and paternity leave, child allowances, fertility clinics, and changes in existing legislation.

Population boost

Dr Atchara stressed that it is not just a matter of fertility but also national security, underscoring the swift shrinkage of the economically active Thai population.

Anticipating the imminent legalisation of gay marriage, Dr Atchara’s surrogacy advocacy is just one of several issues set to be addressed in a legislative overhaul. With major political parties backing gay marriage, the surrogacy debate mirrors broader discussions, including pensions and wills, necessitating a re-examination of outdated laws and directives, reported Pattaya Mail.

Experts argue that legalising the surrogacy industry would not only safeguard the rights of natural mothers but also extinguish the underground market. Some go further, proposing the legalisation of sending frozen eggs and sperm abroad as a potential revenue stream for the national treasury.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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