Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nepal stops surrogacy

Last week the Nepal Supreme Court ordered that commercial surrogacy there stop.The order is made until the conclusion of the case, where according to reports, a lawyer has claimed that surrogacy involves exploitation of the surrogate and the child.

Currently 11 Australian babies have been born in Nepal, and left, and about another 60 surrogacies involving Australian intended parents are under way.

It turns out that Nepal has no legal framework for surrogacy at all. Part of the criticism in the case is that the basis for surrogacy in Nepal is a cabinet decision last year to allow surrogacy, provided that the surrogate is not from Nepal. In other words, the Nepalese Government did not ensure that laws were passed to allow surrogacy, just an agreement in principle, that fertility tourism was a great idea, as long as it did not involve Nepalese women, which necessarily means that the surrogates come from India.

A further criticism in the case is that birth certificates are not issued by the appropriate authorities, but by the hospitals concerned, and that children leaving Nepal are doing so in breach of the 1961 Hague Convention on the Protection of Infants. Australia is not a signatory to that Convention. Neither is Nepal.

It is not known how long the order will remain in place or what impact it might have, especially on those midway through the process.

It is yet another example of unclear processes and lack of clarity in a developing country (as seen previously in India in 2012 and Thailand last year) that has led to rules being changed, or indeed rules suddenly being written or created, which changes the game for those unfortunate enough to have gone there.

It is yet another example why compensated surrogacy should be allowed to occur in Australia- to reduce demand for overseas surrogacy arrangements in developing countries. Australians would much rather go to their local IVF clinic and undertake surrogacy here than go somewhere else, given the choice.

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