Valley

Foreigners unable to take surrogate babies home

  • Court ban on surrogacy
- PRATICHYA DULAL, Kathmandu

Oct 1, 2015-

Foreigner parents of surrogate babies born in Nepal have urged the government to send their children home, saying that they have not been able to leave the country with their babies after the Supreme Court banned surrogacy last month.

The problem arose after the apex court imposed a ban on surrogacy without specifying what to do with babies already on the process of being born and the government not being able to find a solution to the problem a month after the ban.

“I want to take my babies home and have been making rounds to the Department of Immigration and the Ministry of Health trying to get paper work that would allow me to fly home with my children, but to no avail,” said a frustrated George Barnwell (name changed), father of two surrogate babies born in the Capital a month ago. The Supreme Court on August 25 had issued an interim order to immediately halt the surrogacy services in the country. In the order, the court also asked hospitals operating surrogacy services and the Ministry of Health and Population to furnish clarification citing legal grounds on which they were ruining such businesses.

Barnwell, a 28-year-old Australian, had contacted local agents for having a baby through a surrogate mother after the government had directed ministry of health to formulate a guideline for surrogacy in November last year.

As a result the twin babies--a boy and a girl--were born on August 29. Barnwell said he then obtained passports for his babies through the Australian Embassy.

The embassy conducted a DNA test of the babies and the father and issued Australian passport for the babies based on their genetic connection.

“I respect the fact that the government has banned

surrogacy now. But we had started the process a long time before the ban and now I urge the government to find a solution so that we can fly home with our babies,” added an Israeli father who too has not been able to take his child home after the ban was imposed.

The government has admitted that it has not able to send surrogate children home due to lack of proper guidelines.

“For the time being, there is nothing we can do. But the Immigration Department and Ministry of Health are scheduled for a meeting later this week to find a way to send surrogate children home. Until then, we urge the parents to be patient,” said Kedar Neupane, Immigration Department chief.

Neupane said the government will follow international practice and find a solution so that children born as a result of the process that had started before the ban was imposed will be able to fly to their respective home country.

Both the foreigner fathers revealed that they had paid the surrogate mother, an Indian woman, $ 10 thousand and further $ 9,000 to the hospital for the medical charges.

According to Barnwell, there are more than 30 parents from Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Israel and Serbia trying to get their babies home.

Published: 01-10-2015 08:35

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