Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Surrogacy is booming in Nepal, but where are the ethics and moral codes?


We were all shocked to hear about the natural disaster which happened in Nepal, but another unexpected and devastating news came out amidst this tragedy. Rescue operators saved 26 new born surrogate babies and hundreds of surrogate mothers from the mishap. This incident opened a Pandora's box of what is happening in Nepal in the name of surrogacy. It was revealed that most of these babies belong to Israeli gay couples and the pregnant surrogates were as well carrying their babies. For comprehending this phenomenon, we need to understand the surrogacy laws in Israel and Nepal.

Israel give permission for gay civil unions and surrogacy. But in Israel, only heterosexual couples can  opt for surrogacy. But strangely, the law gives citizenship to babies born to gay couples through surrogacy outside the country. This has prompted a large number of gay couples to look for surrogacy outside Israel. 

Till 2012 India was a haven for the gay couples to get a child through surrogacy. Compared to the European countries, India was a cheap destination for surrogacy. But when the new Indian law which banned surrogacy for gay couples was introduced in  2012, the scenario changed. The focus was shifted to Thailand till the Baby “Gamy” episode and subsequent ban on surrogacy for foreign couples in Thailand.

This changed Nepal into the most sought after destination for surrogacy. But Nepal has some rather strange laws for surrogacy. Surrogacy is allowed for foreign couples, whether heterosexual or gay, it doesn’t make any difference. But for the citizens of Nepal, surrogacy is banned. They cannot be intended parents nor surrogates. Now this is a strange situation, which has been cashed by middlemen in India. Girls from India are transported to Nepal to act as surrogates. After birth, the child gets Israeli citizenship without any difficulty.

But after the devastating quake in Nepal, the rescue flights carried the Israeli babies, but the pregnant mothers carrying the Israeli babies were left in the lurch. The hapless mothers were left to fend for themselves. This caused a word wide uproar and the incident was termed as “Global Shame”

Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)

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