Illegal IVF clinic in Sathorn shut down, new surrogacy law awaits approval

Illegal IVF clinic in Sathorn shut down, new surrogacy law awaits approval

Officials raided and shut down an in vitro fertilization clinic in the Sathorn area yesterday in response to the recent surrogacy scandals to hit the kingdom.

New Life IVF, located on the 18th floor of Bangkok City Tower, was found to be operating without a license. It is currently being investigated for a link to Mitsutoki Shigeta, the Japanese businessman that was found to be the father of 13 surrogate babies here.  

Meanwhile strict new limitations are being considered.

“The NCPO has approved a surrogacy draft law,” said junta spokeswoman Pattamaporn Rattanadilok. “We will punish… those who practise and are involved in commercial surrogacy.”

The bill is now before the National Legislative Assembly, The Guardian reported.

If approved, the law limits surrogacy to married couples and their blood relatives. The baby will also remain with the surrogate, who will be considered the child’s legal mother, for up to six months for breastfeeding.

Nine of Shigeta’s 13 surrogate babies were found in a condominium early this month. The residence is suspected to be the base of an illegal surrogacy ring. Records showed he had visited Thailand 65 times and was photographed at immigration leaving the country with various babies.

The spotlight is now on Pisit Tantiwattanakul, a physician believed to be involved in baby ring. Should he be found guilty, Pisit could face a three-year jail sentence, a THB60,000 fine, and  revoked license, Channel News Asia reported.

Four couples from the United States and Australia respectively were stopped from leaving the country yesterday with their surrogate babies, according to Reuters.

One pair had even brought the surrogate mother along in an attempt to avoid obstacles as they passed through immigration.

Officials said the couples had to apply for court approval to win custody of the babies, according to told the Australian Broadcasting Corp., a process which could take several months.

Photo: AFP


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