Sunday, August 03, 2008

Surrogacy in India - breaking the law ?

Today's Times of India has a great article on a couple from Israel who came to India for surrogacy treatment. They transferred their frozen embryos into a surrogate and have taken their baby back with them to Israel.

While this is a very good example of how resourceful infertile couples can be, what worries me is the fact that there is no mention made of how the baby was taken out of the country. Presumably, the passport was issued on the baby's name, based on the birth certificate. Now, while surrogacy is legal in India, Indian law dictates that the name on the baby's birth certificate has to be the birth mother's. The father's name will be the name of her spouse . A birth certificate is a legal document and cannot be fudged or changed, no matter who the genetic parents are. Clinics use the garb of the "ICMR guidelines" to justify putting the name of the intended parents on the birth certificate. While the intention may be good, I am not comfortable about the fact that the law is being bent to suit a patient's convenience. This is a grey-area which needs to be urgently addressed. Otherwise, we may create loopholes which could be exploited by unscrupulous people to short cut the legal adoption process by putting the wrong name on the birth certificate, in case a couple wants to adopt an unwanted baby, without having to wait the 3 years it takes now through the legal adoption process.

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