PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — An Australian woman charged with providing commercial surrogacy services in Cambodia told a court Monday she has “lost everything” since her arrest eight months ago and is suffering from cancer.

Cambodia banned commercial surrogacy last year after becoming a popular destination for would-be parents seeking women to give birth to their children.

Tammy Davis-Charles, who was arrested in November, has said in previous court appearances that she launched her business in Cambodia only after consulting three local lawyers who assured her the clinic was legal. The surrogates were paid $10,000 for each pregnancy, she has said.

On Monday, Davis-Charles said she has cancer in her left eye and wants to be reunited with her family in Australia, including her 5-year-old twin sons.

“I have lost everything,” she said.

The judge adjourned the case until Aug. 3.

Developing countries are popular for surrogacy because costs are much lower than in nations such as the United States and Australia, where surrogate services are around $150,000. The surrogacy business boomed in Cambodia after it was put under tight restrictions in neighboring Thailand. There also were crackdowns in India and Nepal.

After Cambodia’s crackdown, the trade has shifted to neighboring Laos.

Author photo
SOPHENG CHEANG
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.