Non-commercial Surrogacy in Thailand: Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications in Local and Global Contexts


In this paper, the ethical, legal, and social implications of Thailand’s surrogacy regulations from both domestic and global perspectives are explored. Surrogacy tourism in Thailand has expanded since India strengthened its visa regulations in 2012. In 2015, in the wake of a major scandal surrounding the abandonment of a surrogate child by its foreign intended parents, a law prohibiting the practice of surrogacy for commercial purposes was enacted. Consequently, a complete ban on surrogacy tourism was imposed. However, some Thai physicians and surrogate mothers cross into neighboring countries to provide foreign clients with the commercial surrogacy services that are forbidden in Thailand. Under this legislation, the needs of Thai couples who are unable to conceive are accommodated by legally accessible, non-commercial surrogacy services; however, there is currently no provision in place aimed at protecting the rights and interests of surrogate mothers and children. It is widely believed that the abolition of surrogacy tourism, an industry that give rise to several major scandals, and legal access to surrogacy by Thai couples were the Thai government’s primary goal in implementing this legislation.

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    (Appendix) Fieldwork was performed in Bangkok, Thailand, in September 2010, December 2010, May 2011, January 2012, January 2013, October 2013, February–March 2014, August–September 2016, and January 2018. Fieldwork in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was performed in November 2015 and January 2018. Most basic demographic data (age, marital status, family structure, income, and educational background) were obtained from semi-structured interviews with the surrogates (Hibino and Shimazono 2013).


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The author would like to thank all the informants contacted.


The study was funded by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (18k11896), Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Exploratory Research (15k12719), and Funding Program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers (LZ006).

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Correspondence to Yuri Hibino.

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Hibino, Y. Non-commercial Surrogacy in Thailand: Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications in Local and Global Contexts. ABR 12, 135–147 (2020).

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  • Surrogacy
  • Thailand
  • Global
  • Local
  • ELSI