Surrogacy crackdown in Cambodia
Tammy Davis-Charles being interviewed by Cambodian police
An Australian nurse and fertility entrepreneur has been arrested in Cambodia after a government crackdown on commercial surrogacy.
Tammy Davis-Charles, 49, was arrested by Cambodian anti-trafficking police last weekend and stands accused of human trafficking and falsifying documents -- charges which carry up to a two year sentence.
The charges were brought against Ms. Davis-Charles after authorities began to monitor her Phnom-Penh surrogacy business, Fertility Solutions PGD.
Ms. Davis-Charles’ clinic matches would-be parents with surrogate mothers -- typically poor Cambodian women. The clinic had catered mainly to Australian couples, but some clients were from other nations such as the US.
Chou Bun Eng, Cambodia’s Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior, is leading the country’s anti-human trafficking efforts.
“I don’t want Cambodia to be taken advantage of by this growing business, it violates the baby and child rights”, she told reporters.
The country has offered limited amnesty to Australians who have paid for surrogacy services -- provided they fulfil their financial commitments to surrogates. At the time of Ms. Davis-Charles arrest there were 23 pregnant surrogates working for the clinic.
Mexico, India, Nepal, Thailand and now Cambodia, have closed their doors to international surrogacy. What will be the next destination for the surrogacy industry? Apparently it will be Laos. Internet ads are popping up advertising world-class services at half the price of US clinics and the highest success rates in Southeast Asia.
There is quite a bit of literature in bioethics journals about the ethics of telling white lies to patients, especially with terminally ill patients. But a far more common ethical conundrum has been strangely neglected: whether children should be told the truth about Santa Claus. This, thankfully, has been remedied. Two psychologists have written an article in The Lancet Psychiatry arguing that children’s moral compass could be permanently deranged by the disappointment of learning that their parents have been telling them lies.
Kathy McKay, a clinical psychologist at the University of New England, Australia and a co-author, told The Guardian: “The Santa myth is such an involved lie, such a long-lasting one, between parents and children, that if a relationship is vulnerable, this may be the final straw. If parents can lie so convincingly and over such a long time, what else can they lie about?”
The psychologists follow in the footsteps of Richard Dawkins, who saw through the myth of Santa Claus at the tender age of 21 months. He told a conference in 2014: “Is it a good thing to go along with the fantasies of childhood, magical as they are? Or should we be fostering a spirit of scepticism? I think it's rather pernicious to inculcate into a child a view of the world which includes supernaturalism.”
We’d like to open up comments on BioEdge to a discussion of this issue.
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