Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surrogacy ban lacks force of law



Surrogacy ban lacks force of law

A baby born of a surrogate mother sleeps in a hospital. Ishara Kodikara/AFP
A baby born of a surrogate mother sleeps in a hospital. Ishara Kodikara/AFP

Surrogacy ban lacks force of law

Anti-surrogacy advocates have welcomed the government’s recent stance to ban surrogacy in Cambodia, though legal experts have warned that the shady practice could still continue if the prohibition is not enshrined in law.

In a ministry directive, or prakas, signed October 24, Health Minister Mam Bunheng signed off on a total ban on surrogacy. Article 12 of the prakas, obtained by the Post yesterday, reads: “Surrogacy, one of a set of services to have a baby by Assisted Reproductive Technology, is banned completely”.

Bunheng and health spokespeople could not be reached yesterday, but the single line in the prakas did not outline any legal consequences for those who breach the ban.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said this left the ban in a potentially flimsy state. “A prohibition to do something must be made by the law,” he said. A prakas, he added, must be consistent with the law, but there is currently no law outlawing surrogacy.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said he was not aware of the Health Ministry’s directive. “We are in the process of studying [so we can start] drafting the law for prevention of surrogacy,” he said.

Rodrigo Montero, gender adviser with the German development agency GIZ, said outlawing surrogacy was the “right approach” because “surrogacy means supporting the selfish interests of foreigners and of those who want to gain money from this very profitable and unethical business”.

But Sam Everingham of Families Through Surrogacy said the Health Ministry’s position was “likely a response to concerted pressure from Western governments” and added that surrogacy arrangements are “poles apart” from child trafficking.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from