Sunday, November 15, 2015

Surrogacy in Cambodia: Who really takes the risks? Who really pays the price?

As expected, the government of Cambodia is already moving to stop commercial surrogacy in their country:

"Meanwhile, the Cambodian government is scrambling to create new laws to stop the fast-growing surrogacy industry before it expands. Touch Channy, spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs, said that government ministries will discuss how to manage the growing numbers of surrogacy clinics. “The ministries need to work together to ensure that this case doesn’t happen in Cambodia,”

It is absolutely devastating to know that the many of the same people who ignored issues in India , then watched the fear and pain of their clients in Thailand as that country closed its doors to international surrogacy, jumped into Mexico within weeks, then began promoting surrogacy in Nepal- where they watched intended parents and their babies get stranded there simply start over in yet another country.   

I wish I could believe that these companies truly cared about surrogates, babies and intended parents. However, what Sam Everingham from  Families Through Surrogacy says "“Many of the clinics have a business model where they take advantage of being able to take clients to a country with a legal loophole,” he said, “until it’s no longer there, and then they have to move somewhere else.”   about clinics is equally applicable to international surrogacy facilitators, agencies and agents.   If your business model boils down to "get as many clients as you can in as fast as you can" before you get kicked out..... that does not inspire confidence in a company or an individual.  

I know the desperation that is driving couples to listen when their new "BFF" agent tells them that there are some risks, but not to worry you can trust your "Auntie" and they are professionals who are experts in all areas of this yada yada yada.   If any of you are reading this, please ask yourself this:

1.  How can a person who does not speak the local language, is not a legal or medical professional and who has spent only a  handful of days in a given location be an "expert" on something as medically, ethically and legally complicated as surrogacy?   

2.  Ask your facilitator what responsibility they will bear if you are directly harmed by taking their advice.  If they make a grave error about the quality of medical providers they have chosen for you,  who will be accountable for the results of that error?  Your facilitator?  No.  It will be you and your very fragile and much loved baby.  If you and your babies end up stranded in a country where surrogacy wasn't legal in the first place and whatever "loophole" the agency  was counting on is now closed.... will they help you pay your bills while you're in country?  Pay for your legal counsel?   Help you keep your job while your stuck thousands of miles away from home?   Do they have the concrete ability to do ANYTHING to help your family when things go pear shaped?  See how far that accountability and their commitment to you the client goes when you try to get that in writing.