| May 26, 2018

Hospitals press on with surrogacies as govt stays mum

Hospitals press on with surrogacies as govt stays mum
KATHMANDU, Aug 17: Despite controversy surrounding the practice, major hospitals which have been providing surrogacy services have said that they would continue providing the service pending another decision by the government.

As the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) remains quiet over the issue, the hospitals and dozens of surrogacy centers have not bothered to look back.
The issue came to the fore after the Personnel Administration Division (PAD) at MoHP was found misusing the letter head of the ministry. A letter issued by PAD allowing hospitals to provide surrogacy services has been termed an 'illegal act' by Secretary at the Ministery Shanta Bahadur Shrestha.

The Ministry told Republica that PAD is not the authorized body to issue letters regarding the operation of such services in Nepal and moreover doing so before the formulation of any law concerning the matter was surprising. However, officials at MoHP are not giving out any clear answers concerning the story behind the letter reaching the hospitals.

Grande City Clinic (GCC), which is one of the major hospitals providing surrogacy services, has reiterated that it is to continue providing those services until the government comes up with another clear decision on the issue. It stated that they are acting legally in providing surrogacy to foreigners.

Dr. Sahil Gupta at GCC told Republica that they need a clear-cut stance on surrogacy on the part of the government as they had obtained legal papers from the latter.

"We will continue our everyday job as we are working legally and haven't breached the laws of Nepal," said Gupta.

Gupta, who is also Asia-Pacific manager for the Tammuz International Surrogacy, added, "We have invested a lot for this and we also need time to settle the issues of surrogates that we currently have on hand."

Meanwhile, Secretary Shrestha said that they are investigating the issue seriously and would come up with a clear stance soon.

"We came to know about the letter and the surrogacy business but we can't say anything about it for now; we have started investigations after forming a committee," he said.

According to a cabinet decision of September 2014, Nepal will allow hospitals to provide surrogacy services if both the couples and the surrogate mothers are foreigners. No law as such has been formulated on surrogacy to date.