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Chou Bun Eng (left) at the meeting on surrogacy organised by the Ministry of Interior yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Chou Bun Eng (left) at the meeting on surrogacy organised by the Ministry of Interior yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Surrogacy options to PM

Members of the inter-ministerial committee charged with drafting a law to regulate commercial surrogacy met yesterday to discuss potential penalties for people involved in the industry, officials said.

“We proposed two choices: one by civil law . . . and the other would be a strict application of the penal code,” said Ministry of Interior official Chou Bun Eng.

Ministers will now send the options to the prime minister, Eng said. The decision will regulate how cases are treated prior to the passage of a law regulating surrogacy.

There is currently no law pertaining to commercial surrogacy in Cambodia, but several articles of the penal code originally drafted to combat human trafficking have been used to prosecute people involved in the industry.

Representatives from the ministries of women’s affairs, health, justice and foreign affairs, will meet over the coming months to draft legislation. But so far, officials are unable to confirm whether the industry will be criminalised.

“Commercial surrogacy should not be legalised, that’s my personal opinion,” said Ministry of Women’s Affairs official Pon Putborei. “But the law is not finished, so I cannot say [whether it will be made legal]. We will discuss everything in the next meeting.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry said that surrogacy will remain banned in Cambodia until the law is finalised. “If the law allows surrogacy, then it will become legal; now we cannot say,” Sunry said.

Research by Cambodia-based gender expert Kasumi Nakagowa showed that a little over 50 percent of female respondents think surrogacy should be made illegal, while 30 percent were in favour of legalisation, and the remainder unsure.

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