After New Law, Can't Allow Mumbai Couple To Go On With Surrogacy: Hospital

The city-based hospital made the submissions in an affidavit that it filed in response to a petition filed by the couple, who had claimed that their surrogacy procedure had begun before the new ART Act and the Surrogacy Act came into force

After New Law, Can't Allow Mumbai Couple To Go On With Surrogacy: Hospital

The private hospital said that the couple was "misleading" the court.

Mumbai:

A private hospital on Tuesday informed the Bombay High Court that all IVF procedures were not surrogacy procedures, and it could not let a couple from the city carry on with the process in light of the new act that prohibits commercial surrogacy.

The city-based hospital made the submissions in an affidavit that it filed in response to a petition filed by the couple, who had claimed that their surrogacy procedure had begun before the new ART Act and the Surrogacy Act came into force in January this year.

The couple had argued that provisions of the new acts could not be applied retrospectively to their case, and had urged the court to direct the hospital to let them complete their surrogacy procedure, or, direct the facility to transfer their nine cryopreserved fertilised embryos to a private clinic in Thane.

The couple, in their plea last month, had told the high court that their surrogacy procedure had started in October 2021 and their fertilised embryo was scheduled to be transferred to a surrogate's womb in February 2022.

However, the process had to be halted in light of the new laws, the plea stated.

In an affidavit filed before a bench led by Justice SV Gangapurwala, the private hospital said that the couple was "misleading" the court.

The hospital cited that what had begun in October 2021 was the retrieval of eggs from the petitioner woman's ovaries and fertilisation of the eggs. This process, as well as the cryopreservation of embryos was part of an assisted reproduction or IVF procedure.

The surrogacy part was the identification of a healthy surrogate, her medication, hormonal stimulation treatments and transfer of embryos to her uterus, it said.

While a surrogate was identified for the couple, the procedure was called off just weeks before the new Surrogacy Act came into force, as the surrogate was found to be medically unfit, the hospital said.

"The petitioners are misleading the court by making it appear as if the IVF procedure and the surrogacy procedure were being carried out parallelly. All IVF procedures are not surrogacy procedures," the affidavit stated.

The hospital argued that while the ART Act permits transfer of embryos from one medical facility to another for personal use only, and not for commercial purposes, in the couple's case, the petitioner woman has had her uterus surgically removed. Therefore, she cannot use the cryopreserved for personal use.

The hospital further said it had no intention to cause prejudice to, or, harass the couple, and it was merely following the law for, the new Acts required all medical facilities providing assisted reproduction and surrogacy procedures to follow the law scrupulously.

The new laws were introduced in January this year to prevent sale of and profiteering from embryos. They require approval of a state or national level regulatory authority for altruistic surrogacy procedures.

The couple had argued in their plea that the new laws had provided a six-month window to concerned medical facilities to complete the ongoing procedures and hence, the private hospital should have continued the process.

The hospital, however, said the said window was provided only for procedures under the ART Act and not the Surrogacy Act.

While the bench took the hospital's affidavit on record on Tuesday, it recused from hearing the plea further.

The matter will come up before another appropriate bench later this month.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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