Recently, The Supreme Court of Nepal issued an interim order putting an immediate stop to commercial surrogacy services in the country. As reported in news.com.au, “the future of dozens of families has been thrown into limbo after Nepal followed India and Thailand and announced a crackdown on the commercial surrogacy market.”
Surrogacy in India, Thailand and Nepal has always brought up questions and controversy. The practices may not be ethically based and there may well be the exploitation of women in the surrogacy practices and procedures in these countries. Most intended parents never meet their surrogate and have no idea of the living conditions or care that the she is receiving.
Surrogacy Australia founder Sam Everingham said between 60 and 80 desperate Australian couples are currently waiting for Nepalese surrogates to have their children. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said the decision means the status of those existing surrogacy arrangements is now unclear. “The Australian Government strongly recommends that commissioning parents not consider surrogacy in Nepal,” the Department said in an updated travel advisory.
Many international surrogacy lawyers encourage their clients to come to the United States for surrogacy options. Now, with the banning of commercial surrogacy in Thailand, India, Cambodia and Nepal, the United States remains the most respected and available option for surrogacy. This is because surrogacy in the United States is conducted ethically and with close attention to the law, especially the constitutional law that says that a woman is entitled to make decisions about her own medical care. Although intended parents and gestational surrogates enter into contracts, the constitutional right of a surrogate to make medical decisions for herself is never questioned.
The United States has organizations of lawyers who practice in the field of surrogacy law such as The American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys (AAARTA), the Family Law Institute (a group related to the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association) and the American Bar Association Family Law Section. These groups promote codes of ethics that lawyers abide by in order to use best practices to uphold the rights and dignity of every client and participant in a surrogacy journey.
It is unfortunate that surrogacy in countries such as Nepal and Thailand are closing down but there are good reasons. Until the practices and procedures uphold clear and necessary ethical and medical protocols, surrogacy should be limited to places and countries where there is attention to best legal and ethical practices.