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Assisted Reproduction

Thai Police Target 12 IVF Facilities For Allegedly Providing Illegal Sex Selection Services

More information on the criminal investigation taking place in Thailand involving IVF clinics offering gender selection, surrogacy and egg donation services:

AFTER news that Chinese people have been coming to Thailand for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures that allow specific selection of a baby’s sex, police are checking up on 12 “targeted” private clinics nationwide that reportedly provide illegal fertility services. Pol Lt-Colonel Chatmongkol Wasin-amorn, deputy superintendent of the Consumer Protection Police Division, said police would arrest those involved on human-trafficking charges if the fertility technology has been developed and promoted in a way that could be prosecuted under that framework. Online advertisements that carry faulty messages such as claiming that clinics in Thailand are legally entitled to carry out IVF procedure that allows sex selection will result in the punishment of both the website owner and the information provider.

Chatmongkol made his statement at a press conference on Tuesday that was jointly organised by the Public Health Ministry and the Medical Council of Thailand. Department of Health Service Support chief Dr Boonreung Trireungwarawat affirmed that Thai law strictly controlled IVF and gestational surrogacy as well as prohibiting the selling of eggs and the sex selection of embryos.

Illegal clinics and practitioners face jail terms of up to three years and fines of Bt60,000, he warned. “Currently, there are 45 fertility clinics that are approved by the department and the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. “Seven or eight more clinics are applying for licences,” he said. He added that 300 gynaecologist clinics would be invited to a meeting about the legal requirements surrounding IVF, where they would be urged to be vigilant against law violators.

Medical Council of Thailand president Dr Somsak Lohlekha said the council prohibited the sex selection of babies and payment to egg/sperm donors or surrogate mothers. Surrogacy could only proceed if the egg and sperm came from a spouse or a blood relative.

Doctors found to have breached the council’s regulations in this matter would be deemed guilty of seriously contravening medical ethics, which is punishable by revocation of a medical licence. Somsak also said the council would make a proposal to the Food and Drug Administration to enact stricter control of sperm imports.


3 comments for “Thai Police Target 12 IVF Facilities For Allegedly Providing Illegal Sex Selection Services”

  • Karen

    Shocking, just shocking. The people who promoted this as a viable choice should all be put in jail.

  • Rosalia

    It is horrible. People just used to promise and promise. But if it illegal it does not have any guarantees.And it is fair that illegal clinics and practinioners face jail terms. And such clinics should be closed. There should be non-governmental organisation that would be able to control surrogacy all over the world.

  • Susan Barton

    I would like to share my story so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else. My wife and I have been trying to conceive for a very long time. We have one child but after many years we decided that it was time to have another. After many meetings with the doctor and many different medications that were unsuccessful that were supposed to increase our chances we both were tested at a clinic. Our fertility doctor was GREAT he was so helpful and kind and caring. Or so we thought we found out later that this probably was not the case. It was determined that my wife was beyond her easily reproductive years AMA (Advanced Maternal Age) and that even with drug treatments wasn’t very likely to conceive again. However we were very near to experiencing an empty nest, our only child was almost grown and she was everything we could have wanted in a girl smart and beautiful as her mother, but I had always dreamed of having a son to carry my name. After many late conversations some of them very heated I convinced my wife to follow the doctor’s advice and seek out an egg donor. He conveniently had photos on his pc, a slide show of donors to look at however most of them were not native Chinese. After my wife found a donor that reminded her of herself when she was that age we asked where the clinic was. He said that it’s very difficult in China and our best bet would be to fly to Bangkok, Thailand and see his good friend Wachira Chitthong at Stork Healthcare Management Ltd. On 44 Srijulsap Building, 22nd Floor, Rama 1 rd. Rong Mueang, Pathum Wan, Bangkok. as he would know a good Embryologist and Doctor. I later found out that my trusted local doctor was most likely getting a kick back from them and wasn’t looking out for our best interests at all.

    So we started our Journey and booked our tickets to Bangkok. My wife and I had a meeting with Sue Barton an Embryologist at Stork and Dr. Jariya Lorwatthanasirikul for many questionnaires and tests. My wife and I confirmed that the donor we had picked from the photo, a Chinese looking Pilipino had passed all the genetic tests and was a healthy donor. I had to donate sperm and my wife had to have a minor procedure to implant the fertilized embryo into her womb and we were sent back to China with a handshake and a very light wallet.

    Fast forward nine months and we are in the hospital and my wife is in labor. The first sign that I had that something was amiss was shortly after my wife gave birth. She was allowed to hold the baby after he was given a quick check up that everything was ok. We had been so excited to meet our new bundle of joy and had taken great pleasure in showing our friends and family the sonogram photos. My wife and I had early on made the decision not to tell either our new child nor our family and friends that we had used an egg donor. We were extra precautious and followed the advice of Sue to use the same Blood Type as my wife so that even our child would never know unless we told him.

    The nurse handed my child to my wife and I noticed that it was very dark skinned.. Way darker then either me or my wife or even the donor we had chosen! I discreetly asked the nurse why my baby was so dark and she didn’t have any answers. I was worried but I was also in love with my new son. My wife and I went back to our doctor and I asked him if he had ever heard of a baby being significantly darker when born then when an adult or if I should be concerned. We had chosen the donor based on her beauty she was (almost haha she could never be as beautiful) as beautiful and light skinned as my wife was at her age. He replied that all was normal and he had never heard of anything like this happening (VERY UNLIKELY).

    The real problems started to happen about 4 months after we took our little boy home. He was weak and unresponsive one morning and we rushed him to the hospital. The doctors were very perplexed and kept asking us questions about the baby that really started to alarm and worry my wife and I. They asked if he was adopted and I became very defensive knowing that I was the baby’s father or that I thought I was! I finally confided in the doctor that my wife and I had used the services of a fertility clinic abroad and that he was conceived with the help of an egg donor. The doctor was very somber when he told me that my son had a serious genetic defect and that it is very uncommon in Chinese children. He was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia. We insisted on many expensive test to find out how this could have happened. After extensive genetic testing it was determined that my boy was 48% Mongolian Asia and 49% Sub-Saharan Africa with 3% undetermined.

    It is very evident now that the egg that was used to make my son was not in fact from a Filipina donor as we were lead to believe and from the photos we were shown. We love our son very much however it is very difficult to explain to my family and friends why he is so dark. I believe it was greed that lead them to use the cheapest donor possible and to misrepresent from whom the eggs had originated from. I am posting this as a warning to others so that they do not have to endure the shame we have been through.

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