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Australia seeks Thailand's help to allow Aussie couples, surrogate babies to leave

Published on Aug 29, 2014 3:15 PM
 
The entrance of New Life IVF clinic with closed doors in Bangkok on Aug 15, 2014. Australia urged Thailand on Friday to allow Australian couples with babies born by Thai surrogate mothers to return home with their children following a crackdown on commercial surrogacy that has left many couples in limbo. -- PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Australia urged Thailand on Friday to allow Australian couples with babies born by Thai surrogate mothers to return home with their children following a crackdown on commercial surrogacy that has left many couples in limbo.

Foreigners attempting to leave Thailand, a top destination for infertile couples wanting children, have been prevented from doing so in recent weeks following a spate of surrogacy scandals that have shone a spotlight on Thailand's largely unregulated "wombs for hire" business of commercial surrogacy.

United States and Australian couples were turned away at airports earlier this month when attempting to leave with officials telling them they needed to get clearance from Thailand's family courts to formally take custody of the babies. "For those who are caught by these transitional arrangements it is obviously a matter of some high concern and we wish to find a fair and workable means of resolving this issue," Mr Peter Varghese, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told a news conference in Bangkok on Friday.

"I'm confident that we will be able to find a practical way forward that respects the best interest of the child and the birth mother," said Mr Varghese, adding there are 200 Australian surrogacy cases in Thailand each year.

 
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