Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surrogacy plan due soon

Surrogacy plan due soon

A surrogate mother photographed earlier this year in Kampong Speu province. The Interior Ministry will release new guidelines for foreign intended parents later this week.
A surrogate mother photographed earlier this year in Kampong Speu province. The Interior Ministry will release new guidelines for foreign intended parents later this week. Heng Chivoan

Surrogacy plan due soon

Ministry of Interior officials confirmed yesterday that new guidelines for foreign intended parents hoping to leave Cambodia with babies born to surrogate mothers will be released later this week, prompting cautious relief among parents and those involved in the industry.

Chou Bun Eng, permanent vice chair of the ministry’s National Committee for Counter Trafficking, said that Prime Minister Hun Sen had signed off on the guidelines, and that the details would be released within two days.

Ministry official Ran Serey Leakhena confirmed the guidelines would allow babies born to a surrogate mother to leave the country, and that foreign intended parents would not be prosecuted. However, surrogacy companies and brokers could still face legal penalties, Leakhena said.

The announcement comes five months after the Ministry of Health banned the industry, and as dozens of foreign intended parents wait in limbo, trying to obtain the necessary paperwork to leave Cambodia with their children.

Speaking yesterday, one foreign intended parent, who asked to remain anonymous, welcomed the government’s decision, but said he worries the government will charge foreign intended parents exorbitant fees to leave the country.

“I am really relieved that news about the exit strategy is coming . . . But first I would like to see what the law says. The only thing I am worried about is that there will be a lot of restrictions and we have to pay a big fine,” he said.

Some foreign intended parents have spent huge sums waiting in Cambodia and paying for paperwork, money that should be spent on the children’s upbringing, he continued.

“I hope that the government will make sure that people can get the documents without problems,” he said. “I and others experienced corruption getting documents because of being foreign. For example. paying $500 to $1,500 for a birth certificate.”

Mariam Kukunashvili, head of the surrogacy agency New Life Global, which operates in Cambodia, said most of the foreign parents her company works with have left successfully.

“Our last deliveries are in April and May 2017, and of course if exit will be easier for them, we will be thankful towards Government,” Kukunashvili wrote in an email.

But Sam Everingham, director of the Australia-based company Families Through Surrogacy, said the government has taken too long to release the guidelines.

Everingham said in an email that the measures are a huge relief to dozens of Camodian surrogates and intended parents, though he is still concerned new cases of IVF for surrogacy are being carried out in northern parts of Cambodia.

“Cambodia should be engaging with their own people, as well as key stakeholders and legislators in other countries which have regulated surrogacy practice, to ensure they come up with laws suited to the Cambodian environment,” he said.

Read more: A trio’s surrogacy saga

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National