Police in Thailand raided three health care facilities last week in an attempt to crack down on an illegal surrogacy ring in Bangkok.
According to Thaiger, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) conducted the raid, which resulted in one arrest. Investigators said that the illegal ring secretly paid Thai women to carry children who were sent to customers overseas after birth.
Though surrogacy is allowed in the country for couples who are experiencing fertility problems, commercial surrogacy is completely outlawed. All forms of surrogacy — in which a woman is hired to grow a baby and then give that baby up while she is essentially discarded — are dehumanizing, turning women, especially those living in impoverished nations or who are financially unstable, into mere commodities to be used. In addition, in many cases, surrogacy denies a child his or her biological mother and/or father, and by design removes the child from the care of the woman who carried and birthed the child — the voice and heartbeat the baby seeks out instinctively at birth.
As the Thaiger news outlet reports, surrogacy also comes with a host of other ethical issues. “Illegal surrogacy creates several societal issues, such as human trafficking markets, where children born from surrogacy may be sold for organ trafficking, prostitution, or the sex industry. In many instances, children born with physical disabilities are abandoned, a dehumanizing act that infringes upon human rights.”
This was seen in Thailand in 2015, after a case in which a Thai woman became a surrogate for a couple in Australia. After it was revealed that the surrogate was pregnant with twins, one of whom had Down syndrome, the couple pressured the surrogate to abort. She refused and was left to raise the child with Down syndrome herself, while the boy’s twin sister went to live with their parents in Australia. An uproar followed the revelation of the story, causing Thai officials to crack down on international commercial surrogacy.
In 2019, police arrested nine people accused of organizing a multi-national surrogacy ring, which included trafficking the babies to China once they were born. Thai officials continue to investigate these illegal operations, which not only use women as commodities but also treat children as little more than items to be bought and sold.