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

  • Hun Sen asks Cambodians to believe in government

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday asked citizens and investors to trust that the government will overcome the challenges brought about by Covid-19 and the loss of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. Speaking to reporters at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh,

  • Westerdam passenger ‘never had’ Covid-19

    The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the US citizen that allegedly tested positive in Malaysia after travelling on the Westerdam was never infected with Covid-19 in the first place. In an article published in the newspaper USA Today on Friday, CDC

  • ‘Ghost staff’ found, $1.7M returned to state coffers

    The Ministry of Civil Service said more than seven billion riel ($1.7 million) in salaries for civil servants was returned to the state last year after it discovered that the books had been cooked to pay ‘ghost officials’. This is despite claims by the Ministry of

  • Woman wanted for killing own son

    Police in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district are on the lookout for a woman who allegedly hacked her son to death on Sunday in Stung Meanchey III commune. District police chief Meng Vimeandara identified the son as Chan Sokhom, 32. “The offender can’t escape forever.

  • H5N1 also poses deadly threat, ministry warns

    The Ministry of Health’s Communicable Disease Control (CDC) department has called on citizens to excise caution over H5N1 or bird flu that is spreading in the southern province of Vietnam. In a Facebook post, the department announced that it has made a series

  • Malaysia in turmoil

    Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has done it again. At the centre of two days of high drama and political manoeuvring, he has, wittingly or not, contributed to shaking Malaysia, and further causing its equities market to fall nearly three per cent. The drama