Celebrities have joined the friends and families of Israelis who have used surrogates in Thailand, who now find their babies are unable to leave due to issues relating to passports.
It is thought approximately 65 children are affected.
According to the families, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar says that under Thai law, a surrogate mother is registered as the baby’s mother, so issuing a passport and transporting a baby to Israel could be considered abduction.
The contacts between the Foreign Ministry and the Thai authorities have been described as “sensitive,” with the Interior Ministry unable to issue passports until an agreement has been reached.
As Thailand lawyers, we are often asked to advise on this grey area. We find most of our clients are concerned with the following issues:
a) place of birth and how to protect their relationship with their child in the event that the surrogate mother chooses to break the agreement and claim legal rights to the child;
b) how to obtain legal rights as parents of the newborn;
c) how to obtain a visa and citizenship for the child when the parents are from a different country to the surrogate; and
d) how to ensure that the surrogate and other parties fulfill their agreements and carry the pregnancy to term.
Regulations regarding international surrogacy/citizenship issues vary by country.