Foreign parents face surrogacy uncertainty in Nepal
October 1, 2015 5 comments
Parents of Nepalese surrogate babies face uncertainty after recent developments left them in a legal no-man’s land.
The Supreme Court of Nepal issued an interim order banning commercial surrogacy in August following a petition claiming that surrogacy exploited the bodies of poor women. This was followed by a government ban in September. However, the changes did not take account of foreign surrogacy agreements that were already in progress before the ban was implemented.
One Australian parent whose twin babies were born at the end of August has been issued Australian passports following DNA tests proving their genetic connection but, at present, cannot take his children home because of the gap in current government policy. He has since appealed to Nepal’s Department of Immigration and Ministry of Health and Population for help with the paperwork he will need to leave the country with the babies, but so far, without success.
Following the interim order in August the Australian government issued a travel advisory recommending that parents not pursue surrogacy in Nepal.
An Israeli father has faced similar problems. He said:
“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.”
The problems which face some parents seeking international surrogacy were highlighted recently by the case of a couple who had commissioned a baby girl through a surrogate in Thailand. Last month the country changed its surrogacy laws to give biological parents immediate parental rights to the child. However, surrogate children born before the law changed fall under the old regulations which say the surrogate mother is the legal parent until she consents to hand the baby over.
The Nepalese government has admitted there are no guidelines in place that cover surrogacy arrangements that were already underway prior to the government ban last month. Immigration Department chief, Kedar Neupane urged parents to be patient and insisted the government will find a solution. He said that government meetings are scheduled to take place this week.
According to the website of the US Embassy in Nepal, the Nepal Department of Immigration has “requested clarification in writing from the Ministry of Health and Population on issues of exit permits and will not issue exit permits until that clarification is received.”
Photo by gabi menashe via Flickr
October 1, 2015