Laws banning commercial surrogacy in Thailand have come into effect this week, with the country’s Public Health Minister announcing that gay couples an foreigners are banned from using Thai surrogacy services.

Rajata Rajatanavin told The Nation newspaper that gay people are “no longer allowed to access the service because Thailand has not yet legalised same-sex marriage”.

According to the Daily Mail, under the law, surrogacy services can only be accessed by “a man and a woman”, who have been legally married for at least three years, with one or both holding Thai nationality.

The law came into effect after a debate over commercial surrogacy after a straight Australian couple refused to take a surrogate twin boy with Down’s Syndrome back to Australia, but took his sister.

Anyone who breaks the new law may be punished with up to 10 years in jail or a fine not exceeding 200,000 baht (£3650). The sale of sperm, ovum and embryos are also banned.

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