Two weeks after the Ministry of Interior released official guidelines for removing babies born through surrogacy from the country, the intended parents of just nine such children have followed the instructions and taken their cases to court, a Phnom Penh Municipal Court official said yesterday.
The guidelines, which were sent to embassies, require intended parents to get a DNA test, explain the reasons they undertook surrogacy and file paperwork to the court. They also stipulate that parents must give the Cambodian government an update on their child’s mental and physical wellbeing each year until the child turns 18.
“We have received nine applications from January to July, and they now have been sent to the judge,” said Sous Vichyea Randy, the court’s deputy administration chief. “No cases have been decided by the judges yet.”
Sam Everingham, of Australian-based advocacy group Families through Surrogacy, said an estimated 200 babies – or possibly double that – had been born via surrogacy in Cambodia.
He said the relatively low uptake of the government’s proposed methods for exiting the country were “in line” with the group’s expectations.
“I can’t estimate how many Australians have exited with babies to date, but none to my knowledge have utilised the new exit arrangements,” he said in an email.
Several parents have avoided the Cambodian government’s bureaucracy and instead taken their infants out of Cambodia through countries such as Vietnam and Singapore.