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

  • Rainsy stopped in Paris from boarding Thai flight

    Airline officials at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday prevented Sam Rainsy from boarding his flight to Bangkok ahead of his announced return to Cambodia on Saturday. Prime Minister Hun Sen had earlier in the day assured Phnom Penh residents that there would be

  • Analyst: Rainsy blocked from boarding flight 'an excuse'

    THAI Airways not allowing Sam Rainsy on its route from Paris to Bangkok on Thursday is being used as an excuse to keep his standing among fellow coup plotters and his uninformed supporters as flights to non-Asean countries are available, an analyst said on Friday.

  • Rainsy lands in Malaysia

    Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport on Saturday afternoon after boarding a flight from Paris, where he has been living for more than four years. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Koy Kuong said on Saturday that Cambodia respected

  • Sokha continues call for dropping of charge after bail conditions reduced

    Not satisfied with having his bail conditions reduced, allowing him to travel freely in Cambodia, Kem Sokha says he wants his charge totally dropped. “As an innocent man who has been in detention for two years even without being found guilty, I continue to demand

  • Touch: Rainsy will never return

    Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has claimed it has achieved 70 per cent of its struggle to find a solution to the current political situation in the Kingdom. Just before boarding a plane at Charles de Gaulle

  • Prayut indicates no entry into Thailand for CNRP’s Rainsy

    Cambodian government officials on Wednesday welcomed the position of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after he indicated that Sam Rainsy would not be allowed to return to Cambodia through Thailand. “According to our commitment to Asean, we will not interfere in each other’s internal