Foreign parents face surrogacy uncertainty in Nepal

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

 

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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5 comments

MCardy - October 2, 2015 at 6:20am

Your report using second hand source is incorrect, as there is no Nepali Government ‘ban’ on Surrogacy, the inept journalist incorrectly reported this. What occurred on 18th September in a Ministry of Health and Population Cabinet meeting, was the decision to rescind the previous ruling that enabled Surrogacy Services by Nepali Hospitals and Clinics to foreigners. This was in response to the current proceedings in the Nepali Supreme Court, where there is a Writ Petition lodge by an untraceable Advocate, which listed MoHP as one of the Defendants, so to preclude them for answering, they simply backed out. A typical pretty poor response from the MoHP, a knee jerk reaction, without any thought to the fall out and consequences. It is like comedy cops here in Nepal. Technically there is no ban, and Surrogacy is not illegal, nor legal in Nepal, it simply has no frame work either way. The other Defendants, Prime Minister of Nepal and the named Hospitals and Clinics are meant to respond by Monday to the Writ Petition, until the decision is handed down by the Supreme Court, there is a ‘Stay’ on Surrogacy services in Nepal. That is all.

Cameron Paterson - October 2, 2015 at 10:57am

Hello – thanks for your comment. The US embassy in Nepal also describe the situation as a ‘ban’

MCardy - October 2, 2015 at 2:28pm

This does not make it correct either, US Embassy is is wrong. It is not a ban, the Ministry of Health and Population ‘rescinded’ their standing ruling on Surrogacy Services, on 18th September. No one looks to a foreign Embassy to get the facts, you must contact the Ministry of Health and Population for what they actually did, they did not have a meeting to ‘ban’ Surrogacy, I repeat, it was a meeting to decide their response to Supreme Court Writ Petition that they had to respond to. You can also look at many news articles published by MyRepublica and KathmanduPost back in August to see what actually is happening in Nepal.

Kelly M. - October 2, 2015 at 7:20pm

While there are presently people waiting for exit, this will be resolved shortly, as it was in Thailand. So those currently pregnant or recently delivered will be just fine. No country wishes to keep babies from going home. They do wish to stop the practices of certain providers who refuse to operate ethically.

However, to the agents and clinics continuing to allow future parents to think that they will be able to continue with new procedures in the future, shame on you! Refund the monies paid by these clients so that they may find alternative solutions to complete their families.

Nepal is over and out.

MCardy - October 3, 2015 at 2:13pm

I don’t think any of the Clinics or Agents will ever refund the monies, none of them have so far in past 6 weeks have raised the subject with any of their clients, they just keep up the assumption that everything will be ok in the end, and Surrogacy will continue, as yet to even respond to Supreme Court, so keep holding out.

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