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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a