- Posted March 11, 2013 by
West Bengal, India
Calcutta HC admits PIL on protection of surrogate mothers
The PIL urged the High Court to direct the central and state governments for introduction of a law to protect the surrogate mother and the child and that the entire issue be investigated by the CBI. Hearing the PIL, the division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi directed the central government to file an affidavit within eight weeks.
The petition claimed that production of children through surrogate mothers has become a booming business for fertility centres. It alleged that there was no government control on fertility centres in India and more than 1000 test-tube babies are born every year.
A Kolkata-based NGO, India's Smile, had filed a PIL which cited the recent trend of fertility centres charging huge amount of money from couples who cannot, or do not want to bear children. According to the petition, there is no law in the country to protect surrogate mothers or to stop the malpractice by fertility centres.
Advocate Ajay Roy, counsel of the NGO, said the fertility centres force poor women and even girls to sell their eggs to meet the demand of the couples who cannot bear children. The petition mentioned the incident of a 17-year-old minor girl, who reportedly died after the process of egg donation was conducted on her by one Routanda Centre for Human Reproduction in Mumbai.
Another malpractice that the petition complained of was that many couples who cannot bear children or do not want to take the pain of bearing one, hire wombs of women for the purpose. Fertilised eggs are placed in the 'hired' wombs of these women, who agree to go through it for money. After childbirth, the fertility centres issue a false birth certificate for the child where there is no mention of the surrogate mother. The couple then takes away the child, mostly abroad.