They Were Surrogates. Now They Must Raise the Children.

In Cambodia’s weak legal system, surrogacy exists in a gray market, endangering all involved when political conditions suddenly shift and criminal charges follow.

The baby was not hers, not really.

Hun Daneth felt that, counted on that. When she gave birth to the boy, who didn’t look like her, she knew it even more.

But four years after acting as a surrogate for a Chinese businessman, who said he had used a Russian egg donor, Ms. Hun Daneth is being forced by the Cambodian courts to raise the little boy or risk going to jail. The businessman is in prison over the surrogacy, his appeal denied in June.

Even as she dealt with the shock of raising the baby, Ms. Hun Daneth dutifully changed his diapers. Over the months and years, she found herself hugging and kissing him, cajoling him to eat more rice so he could grow big and strong. She has come to see this child as her own.

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