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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surrogacy agency tears up contract with couple

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Bopha, a surrogate mother for a Dutch couple, pictured in Kampong Speu province earlier this month. Heng Chivoan

Surrogacy agency tears up contract with couple

Commercial surrogacy agency New Life Global Network has severed ties with Dutch intended parents Johan and Pieter* after the Post reported on their experience with a Cambodian surrogate mother.

New Life claims the couple broke their contract’s confidentiality clause by passing reporters information about their correspondence with the agency.

“New Life Global Network LLP unilaterally terminates the agreement with the immediate effect. Along with that let me inform you that, translators refused to communicate with you and your surrogate mother, as well as hospitals refuse to provide you with pregnancy care and delivery service,” reads an email from New Life seen by the Post.

The original story described how the couple located their surrogate mother after the agency refused to put them in touch with her, and what the couple felt were increasingly suspicious communications with the agency after Cambodia’s Ministry of Health issued a prakas banning the industry in October.

Cambodia does not have a law regulating commercial surrogacy, but the government has said it plans to draft a law banning it this year. The article cited emails from New Life demonstrating the agency was actively hiding its work in the Kingdom in the wake of the prakas.

The couple’s contract with the agency, which was drawn up in Tbilisi, Georgia, last May, states that any information submitted by the parties to each other cannot be transferred to a third party without prior consent.

“They are just out from the whole thing,” said Pieter. “But either way they weren’t doing anything [to help us], so it doesn’t really change much.”

The couple claims the agency misled them about the legality of surrogacy in Cambodia.

Their surrogate confirmed she was contacted by New Life and informed that the agency would no longer speak with her or provide scheduled checkups.

“I’m very worried now, because they said that they won’t let Central Hospital treat me,” she said, referring to the hospital where she had been getting her scans.

Johan and Pieter, however, said that they will cover all of the mother’s expenses.

New Life founder Mariam Kukunashvili said in an email she saw nothing wrong with pulling the plug on the agreement. “According to Dutch couple previous interview, they, as well as their Surrogate, claimed, that they were abandonded by us long ago. So what is worrying them now I dont understand.”

She went on to say New Life had stopped offering surrogacy services, and that Johan and Pieter had left the agency with no way to help them thanks to their “manipulative” ways.

*Names have been changed to protect the couple’s identity.

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