Four countries in Asia; Thailand, Nepal, and India have been banned its surrogacy clinics, while Cambodia became the alternative hub after India.
Just recently India had restricted it with a new law to “prohibit and penalize commercial surrogacy services”.
In October 2015, when Rita (name withheld) was around five months pregnant, carrying a child for a foreign couple, the Indian Council for Medical Research sent a notification to all fertility clinics, ordering them not to entertain any foreigners for availing surrogacy services.
The Indian Council of Medical Research also passed a directive followed the release of draft legislation by India’s Health Ministry barring foreigners (except those with family origins) from employing Indian surrogates.
International surrogacy are booming and a very lucrative business with estimated worth around $500 million annually in India, and have started moving out to Cambodia in a country where poor majority citizens are at-stake.
In Cambodia, according to documents obtained through surrogacy agency websites, the customers will pay an amount of no less than $30,000 and sometimes more for each pregnancy with the surrogate getting $10,000 or up. But the key industry players are operating in a grey area amid evasion and denials.
However, with its legal and dim ethical status, prospective parents are being warned to stay away, the names of the intended parents are not known, nor that of the local surrogate and the agency that is being used, or who and how much was paid.
The Ministry of Interior in a recent media reports have intends to treat surrogacy as a form of human trafficking, making it not only illegal but punishable by a prison sentence.
Meanwhile, Son Chhay, a Cambodian lawmaker, strongly opposes any kind of surrogacy and believed it as “unnatural”, and urge Cambodia’s government to outlaw it immediately.
Added that, Cambodia is a Buddhist country, and having a woman carry another child is contrary to Buddhist principles, and whoever gives birth to a child becomes its mother and it’s her obligation to care for it.