Big money offered to 'intelligent' and 'beautiful' cell and sperm donors
August 25, 2014 01:00 By Thanapat Kitjakosol
People with high profiles or prized qualifications top the list of the most sought after sperm and egg donors in Thailand's mostly unauthorised but increasingly popular surrogacy industry.
Male medical students are wanted for their academic intelligence and female models for their good looks. A former Miss Thailand reportedly received Bt1 million for her eggs while medical students are paid up to Bt50,000 for their sperm. Event girls, known as “Pretties”, or models generally receive between Bt20,000 and Bt50,000, said an event girl who was an eggs donor and now works as an agent in the industry. She said that TV actresses received between Bt80,000 and Bt100,000 for their eggs. Surrogacy clients paid a large sum of money on top of that to the agent or surrogacy clinic.
She estimated that clients usually paid between Bt180,000 and Bt250,000 for a surrogacy involving an event girls or university student but the donor only received between Bt20,000 and Bt50,000.
The source said the sale of sperm and eggs flourished on social media, with donors and people seeking donors using Line chat rooms and Facebook pages to connect. There were around 600 women, mostly event girls and students, who were involved in the same Line and Facebook donor communities as her.
She said at one stage, surrogacy operations were hired by a group of Russian women, who were reportedly models and were known as “Angels’ Gang”. The women wanted to have children with Thai men and the services used Northeast women to facilitate it.
A large number of surrogacy services catered for male gay couples, who sought to have twins – a child each the result of either man’s sperm.
A Reuters report said that surrogacy operations in Thailand were especially popular with male clients from China and Hong Kong, because they could choose the child's sex. They mostly wanted boys because of their patriarchal cultures while the lower service fee for boys was also a factor in some cases, the report said.
The Event Girl source said seven children must have borne from her eggs, fathered by four China nationals and Vietnamese, Hong Kong and Japanese men.
She said she stopped selling her eggs a few years ago at age 25, as the practice prematurely made a woman infertile, and became an agent seeking women interested in selling their eggs.
A woman produces around 300 eggs in her life, or one egg each monthly menstruation cycle.
She said one surrogacy operation used hormone stimulation so she produced around 60 eggs.
The Line and Facebook communities involved in the practice continually changed their names to prevent detection.
She said a group of clinics and agents who dominated the industry had made it difficult for her role in the industry to grow after they reacted to her increasing competition.
Thailand has no laws regulating surrogacy, but the controversy sparked by the “Baby Gammy” case has resulted in the junta giving preliminary approval for a draft law to make commercial surrogacy a crime.
Department of Social Development and Welfare deputy director-general Saowanee Khompat said the junta-proposed bill stipulated that surrogacy involving foreign men must end with them marrying the Thai surrogate mothers, while Thai or foreign gay men and women are banned from conducting surrogacy.
The bill also bars the sales and quest for eggs or sperms and prohibit advertising. The womb-for-hire practice will also be illegal.
Boonruang Triruangworawat, director-general of the Department of Health Service Support, said that even after conditional surrogacy was authorised under the new legislation, selecting a child’s sex would remain illegal.
Boonruang said this restriction aimed to prevent female foetuses being terminated – in accordance with the Criminal Code against abortion.