Cambodia Overview

On 3 November 2016 the Cambodian Health minister announced an immediate ban on surrogacy arrangements.

On 10 Feb 2017, Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry announced his government is preparing to draft a new law to make surrogacy legal ‘in order to control and prevent Cambodian children who are born via surrogacy from becoming victims’.

Apparently IVF services and embryo import remain legal. However Cambodia currently has a freeze on exit visas for newborns exiting on foreign passports.

Birth Certificates/ Paternity

Every child born through surrogacy is reported to the government for the purpose of receiving a Cambodian birth certificate.

Based on Cambodian family law, if the couple is not married, the father has equal parental rights with the mother if he is the legitimate father of the child

To establish paternity over the child, an intended foreign father needs to acknowledge the child via consultation with the surrogate and request to register the birth with his name and a signed acknowledgement form from the surrogate

There is currently no mechanism under Cambodian law for the surrogate to surrender her parental status. Hence surrogates from Thailand, Laos and Vietnam are utilised.

In order for a newborn child through surrogacy to leave Cambodia the consent of the surrogate is required. How this is obtained is at the discretion of the embassy of the intended parent.

Legal Status

Different parties have interpreted current Cambodian law differently. None of the current Cambodian law references surrogacy arrangements. No laws protecting the rights of surrogates or intended parents

Article 332 of the Cambodian Criminal Code which is intended to address human trafficking, outlaws the use of an intermediary between an adoptive parent and a pregnant women. It also prohibits the third party intermediary from delivering a child from one party to another. However many point out that intended parents do not adopt their child under Cambodian law, so this article does not apply to surrogacy.

While government officials have openly stated their intention to regulate the practice in the future, the Cambodian health minister has publicly stated that the government would develop proactive regulation to avoid problems such as exploitation or human trafficking. Representatives of the Ministry have been in contact with local IVF clinics and international agencies to formulate a legal framework. Meanwhile, there have been no laws drafted or proposed to the Parliament.

Until the legal framework is in place, the process of establishing parental rights in Cambodia is similar to any baby conceived naturally. When the baby is born the father automatically has equal parental rights, with no court process required.

In order for a newborn child through surrogacy to leave Cambodia the consent of the surrogate is also required. This is obtained through your local embassy, and with the assistance of a Cambodian lawyer . Babies born in Cambodia are also eligible for Cambodian passports.

What if the Laws Change?

The regulation of surrogacy in foreign jurisdictions is a matter for those jurisdictions and there are limits to what foreign Governments can do to influence the laws of a foreign country. Parents engaging in countries without legal protections are putting themselves at significant risk, if relevant laws or decrees are suddenly introduced

On 20 October 2016, Cambodian Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana announced that the Cambodian government is working on a framework and drafting new laws around surrogacy. The government is aiming for legislation to regulate surrogacy to protect women and children and prevent exploitation and abuse.

Egg Donors

Some in-country egg donors are available. Donor screening offered only if through an egg bank