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Surrogacy law meeting set for early ’17 – ‘maybe’

A surrogate in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district earlier this year.
A surrogate in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district earlier this year. Eliah Lillis

Surrogacy law meeting set for early ’17 – ‘maybe’

After more than three months of controversy and the arrest of three surrogacy agents last month, an inter-ministerial committee to draft legislation on commercial surrogacy still has yet to be formed and will not meet until 2017, a Ministry of Women’s Affairs official confirmed yesterday.

“We just sent a letter to each ministry asking them to send a representative to develop the law,” ministry spokesman Phon Puthborey said. “After we get the people, we’ll hold a meeting, maybe at the beginning of 2017.”

Puthborey said his ministry would not single-handedly draft the new law, which the government says will ban surrogacy outright. Instead, it will coordinate with the ministries of justice, health, social affairs, interior and foreign affairs.

“Every ministry has its own responsibility and a mandate according to its portfolio,” he explained. “We can also recruit other agencies and experts according to our needs. ”Puthborey said his ministry will focus specifically on protecting the women and children embroiled in the industry.

On Tuesday, the National Committee for Counter Trafficking’s Chou Bun Eng, who has called on intended parents and surrogates to make themselves known, reiterated that surrogate mothers will not face punitive measures.

Nevertheless, at least one pregnant surrogate confirmed she does not plan to come forward. “As long as I get my stipend, I don’t want to present myself to the authorities.”

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