On June 19th 2014 the Vietnamese National Assembly has passed the Law on Marriage and Family No. 52/2014/QH13 with 10 chapters and 133 articles (“New Law”).
The New Law has many significant changes, representing a new perspective on the issue of marriage and having children of married couples, especially the adjustment on marriageable age and the brand-new regulation of altruistic surrogacy.
Accordingly, in regard to the marriageable age, after controversies over the consideration of reducing marriageable age, which has remained from the first Marriage and Family Law signed by President Ho Chi Minh, to only full 16 years old for women and full 18 years old for men or the same 18 years old for both to ensure the gender equality; the New Law has officially stipulated the minimum age for marriage entitlement which are “full 20 years old” for males and “full 18 years old” for females. In comparison with previous regulations the basis for determining the minimum age for getting married is clearer and tighter.
Instead of forbidding all kinds of surrogacy previously, the New Law for the first time ever has newly allowed “surrogacy for humanitarian purpose” as long as it meets the statutory conditions such as the surrogacy must be done on a voluntary basis by the parties and be in written; certified by competent medial entities on the inability to give birth of the mothers even when applying supporting measures; besides the woman that helps surrogate must be a blood relative with either the husband or wife, as well as the surrogacy can only be performed once in her life-time. The upcoming New Law has now opened up for couples who are incapable of giving birth an opportunity to feel the joy of parenthood as well as demonstrated a respectful view toward sacred rights of human.
In addition, one of the most intense debates is about whether to recognize “same – sex marriage” in Vietnam. The New Law repealed the ban on marriage between people having same gender in order to avoid discrimination. However, that marriage basically is the combination of two different genders, the New Law cites “The State shall not recognize marriage between persons of the same sex".
The New Law will come into effect on January 1st 2015, replacing the current one No. 22/2000/QH10 since the effective date.