Thai man ar­rested for smug­gling sperm to Laos

The Philippine Star - - WORLD -

BANGKOK (AFP) — Thai au­thor­i­ties ar­rested a man try­ing to smug­gle six vials of sperm into Laos, a cus­toms of­fi­cer said on Thurs­day, the lat­est sign that a com­mer­cial sur­ro­gacy in­dus­try is grow­ing in the opaque com­mu­nist coun­try fol­low­ing curbs around the re­gion.

The 25-year-old was ar­rested in the bor­der town of Nong Khai with the tubes packed inside a ni­tro­gen tank, ac­cord­ing to a Thai cus­toms of­fi­cer.

“It was his 13th time smug­gling (se­men) through Nong Khai,” the of­fi­cial told AFP, re­quest­ing anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to speak to the press.

Of­fi­cials be­lieve the vials were bound for a sur­ro­gacy clinic in Laos, an im­pov­er­ished coun­try that is quickly soak­ing up de­mand for the “rent a womb” busi­ness.

The boom in Laos, an au­thor­i­tar­ian na­tion with no re­stric­tions on sur­ro­gacy, comes after neigh­bor­ing Thai­land and Cam­bo­dia clamped down on the in­dus­try fol­low­ing a flurry of scan­dals and con­cerns about ex­ploita­tion.

A num­ber of Laos-linked sur­ro­gacy agen­cies and IVF clin­ics have cropped up in re­cent months, ac­cord­ing to con­sul­tancy group Fam­i­lies Through Sur­ro­gacy.

Some of­fer ser­vices to carry out the em­bryo trans­fer in Laos and then pro­vide preg­nancy care for the sur­ro­gate in Thai­land, a wealth­ier coun­try with vastly su­pe­rior med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties.

File photo shows a vial of se­men.

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