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Fertility clinic denies surrogacy speculation in humam semen seized at border checkpoint

A fertility treatment and pregnancy clinic in Bangkok yesterday reiterated that the human sperm in nytrogen tank belonged to its customer in Laos while strongly dismissing speculation that it was meant for surrogacy.

The clinic, Superior ART, in Bangkok came out to defend itself after it was implicated as one of the clinics that owned tubes of human semen contained in nytrogen tank and which was seized by custom officials at border checkpoint in Nong Khai.

Under the new surrogacy law, any doctor or person performing unauthorised surrogacy faced both jail sentence and fine. Violator could also face revocation of business and occupational license.

The arrested man, 25-year-old Nithinon Srithaniyanan, carried six tubes of what he claimed was human semen bound for Vientiane in Laos.

Investigation by police and health authorities linked the semen to four clinics in Bangkok, one of them is Superior ART.

Superior ART managing director Sarayuth Assamakorn admitted that two tubes of sperms in the nitrogen tank which were seized on the way to Laos belonged to its customer.

He recalled that his clinic has taken care of a couple � Chinese wife and Vietnamese husband since early this year.

But until mid this month a Thai nominee was authorized by the couple to get the semen with unknown reason.

He said the request was the normal right of the customer, adding the clinic then had prepared the document for the sperm.

He said throughout over a decade in the clinic business, his clinic has never involved with the surrogacy, with 80 per cent of his customers are in ASEAN and the rest are Thais.

He said it only served the customers for embryo transfer, artificial insemination and storage services for human semen, eggs or embryos.

He affirmed that there was no human semen, eggs or embryos trading although some foreigners have offered as high as 15,000 baht per tube.

Meanwhile Dr Kamthorn Pruksananonda from the Committee on Protection for Children Born Through Assisted Reproductive Technologies, said that anyone who performed the process and procedures related to the transfer of semen, egg or embryo which involved with the unauthorized surrogacy, whether the person was doctor or not, that person could be prosecuted under the Surrogacy Act.

For repeated offence, violators could face revocation of their licenses.

Meanwhile the Royal Thai College of the Obstetricians and Gynaecologists RTCOG believed that the liquids in the seized nitrogen tank were not semen but may be embryos which were ready to inject into mother's body for pregnancy.

The college said the process to collect semen was not complicated just bring the sperm to mix with the fixer and keep in the container under minus 190 degree Celsius which could keep the sperm for decade. But the process to prepare embryo and its storage were not easy and Thailand was considered the number one in ASEAN.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)