Surrogacy laws in Cambodia are very weak and that can lead to some unfortunate consequences for women who act as surrogates in that country. A shifting political climate, coupled with those tenuous laws, means many women who have been surrogates for individuals or couples from other countries are being forced to raise the children they gave birth to.
Instead of giving birth and turning the child over to the people who were supposed to adopt and raise them, these surrogates are being threatened with criminal charges if they don’t raise the children themselves. In some cases the person or couple wanting the child have also been faced with jail time.
Nearly 10 years ago Asian countries decided to crack down on surrogacy, making it much more difficult to carry out the process in those countries. That’s when people started looking to Cambodia to give them options to create or expand their families. In the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics opened their doors.
The industry was flourishing, but the government created a surrogacy ban and made a claim that they were going to outlaw it completely. While it’s still not illegal, the government has chosen to use human trafficking laws to detain and criminally charge surrogates, arguing that they are trafficking the babies they are birthing for others.
There have been dozens of surrogates arrested, along with some of the would-be parents who had contracted with the surrogates for the children they were carrying. Conviction under the human trafficking laws has a 20-year sentence. Many women who decide to be surrogates in Cambodia do so for the money, but now they only have additional children to feed and provide for.
Cambodian authorities claim that they are trying to avoid allowing their citizens to be exploited, but police raids have separated children from those who expected to be parents, and forced surrogates to raise children they cannot afford.
International clients are integral to The Surrogacy Law Center and we pride ourselves on the level of service we are able to provide them. Our international services include providing translations of standard surrogacy and egg donor contracts, assisting with the process of obtaining apostilles of birth certificates and/or parentage orders, as necessary and working closely with attorneys retained by clients in their home countries to help ensure a seamless transition home. Learn more here!