KATHMANDU, April 21: Hospitals providing surrogacy services in Kathmandu are found to be 'deliberately' conducting cesarean sections prematurely on surrogate mothers in order to make hefty profits.
Republica has found that hospitals conduct premature c-sections and later charge the intended parents (IPs) a huge amount of money for the additional care required.
Recently, an Australian couple was forced to pay more than 30,000 US dollars for the delivery of twins, against the initially-agreed price of 7,000 US dollars. The Grande International Hospital (GIS) 'forced' the couple to pay approximately 30,000 US dollars as the twins were delivered before seven months through c-section.
“I feel that the doctors deliberately did c-section early so babies would be in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a longer period and hence hospital can make profit,” the couple said in an email to Republica.
An insurance package of 7,000 US dollars was signed with the couple to cover all NICU and surrogate costs, but once the babies were conceived, they were told the package was only for seven days in NICU plus cost of delivery.
The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, accused Grande City Clinic (GCC) of not properly addressing the health issues for surrogate mothers, which caused complications for the babies. “This in turn costs us a huge amount of money,” the couple said. The case was later transfered to GIS with its more adequate facilities.
The Australians had sought the surrogacy service in Nepal through Tammuz International Surrogacy, which works with Grande City Clinic (GCC) at Jamal.
Records at the Department of Immigration (DoI) show that the Australian couple did IVF on 22 August, 2015 and the twins were delivered on 14 March, 2016.
GIH had charged the couple 1,000 US dollars (500 dollars per baby) as NICU costs, apart from the package. “Our babies remained in NICU for more than two weeks and when they got discharged, we paid a total bill of over 30,000 US dollars,” reads the email.
The couple said that they are very disappointed that GIH didn't tackle the health problems of their babies before discharging them, forcing them, once they were back in Australia, to admit the babies in NICU there.
They informed that that they paid the agency 45,000 dollars for the surrogacy services, apart from spending 30,000 dollars to save the babies delivered pre-mature via c-section.
The series of events and an interview with the IPs suggest that the hospitals have been charging hefty amounts to foreigners, whose babies needed to be taken out premature via c-section after the Supreme Court (SC) on August 25, 2015, decided to halt all surrogacy services.
GCC has refuted claims that it has carried out premature c-sections on the surrogates, but sources at the hospital told Republica that they have already done premature c-sections for up to six surrogate mothers. “We have conducted premature c-section when there is an emergency but we haven't charged any foreigners more than 7,000 US dollars even during premature delivery,” said the source.
Meanwhile, CEO of GIH, Dr. Ashok Vardan Chordiya, told Republica that the above mentioned case was a highly critical one needing premature c-section. “Our hospital charged them according to the days they were admitted in the hospital, which was more than the package,” he said.
Republica has learnt that GIH has charged many other foreigners, whose cases were critical, hefty amounts.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and DoI have decided to allow foreign couples to take home babies born or conceived through surrogacy before the SC's ban on the practice. They even provided nine months time for delivery in cases where conception took place before the SC decision.
The first surrogate baby in Nepal was born in January, 2014. Nepal emerged as a hub for commercial surrogacy after the practice was banned in Thailand and legal complications arose in India. After India prevented gay men and couples who had been married for less than two years from opting for surrogacy, Nepal become a destination for surrogacy, mostly for Israelis, Australians, Americans, Spaniards and Brazilians.