Immigration officials at Bangkok’s international airport have stopped two Australian couples with surrogate babies from leaving the country.
The couples were trying to depart from Bangkok’s international airport but were stopped by immigration officials on Thursday afternoon.
The couples were both homosexual and one was travelling with the surrogate mother.
It is understood two American couples have also been stopped from leaving Thailand in the last 24 hours.
The ABC has been told police have ordered immigration not to allow surrogate babies out of the country unless there is a court order.
Thailand’s newly formed national assembly, which is heavily dominated by members of the military, had been handed draft laws to ban commercial surrogacy earlier this week.
The ruling army general does not want Thailand to be a surrogacy hub and is expected to move quickly to outlaw the practice, essentially ending a lucrative foreign market.
The changes come in the wake of controversy surrounding a West Australian couple accused by their Thai surrogate of abandoning their newborn son – known as baby Gammy, who has Down syndrome – and only taking home his healthy twin sister.
It was later revealed father David Farnell has 22 child sex convictions, including unlawful and indecent dealing with girls as young as seven when he was in his 20s, but he says the girl is “100 per cent safe” in his care.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it was unable to comment on specific cases.
However, a spokesperson said the Government had been advised Thai authorities were enforcing new documentation requirements for parents of surrogate children when leaving the country.
“While regulation of surrogacy in Thailand is a matter for Thailand, we continue to encourage Thai authorities to adopt appropriate transitional arrangements for any new measures they may introduce, so concerned Australians are not unduly affected,” the spokesperson said.
In a statement, DFAT said it had updated its travel advice for Thailand to reflect changes in the country’s surrogacy requirements.
Since the case of baby Gammy came to light, a number of fertility clinics have been raided and shut down.