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Assisted Reproduction

Canadian Couple Shocked To Learn Twins Born By An Indian Surrogate Are Not Theirs

This is distressing:

Another heartbreaking Indian surrogacy controversy, this time involving two Canadian doctors, was revealed by the Toronto Star this week. The couple received a devastating shock when they applied for Canadian passports for what they believed were their twins borne by an Indian surrogate. A DNA test ordered by the Canadian high commission in New Delhi revealed the twins were not related to the Canadian couple – or to the birth mother – but were the product of fertilised eggs from an unknown mother and father.

The doctors left India childless and the twins may spend their childhood in an orphanage.

The number of Australians hiring surrogates in India has been rising and officials admit privately they are concerned that something similar could go wrong for an Australian couple. There are more than 1000 IVF clinics in India, but no laws govern assisted reproductive technology (ART), which includes surrogacy, and no watchdog has been authorised to police it. “Most of the ART clinics in this country are not following these guidelines because they do not have any legal strength,” said R. S. Sharma, the deputy director-general in the division of reproductive health and nutrition at the Indian Council of Medical Research.

A surrogacy debacle that left a Japanese baby stranded in India in 2008 increased pressure on the government to tighten its surrogacy rules. The child’s parents hired an Indian surrogate mother but divorced during the pregnancy. The Japanese mother-to-be disowned the baby and Indian law prevented the single father from claiming the child. It took nearly six months of legal wrangling before an Indian court finally allowed the baby, called Manji, to leave India with her biological grandmother.

A bill to govern assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy has been drafted but, as the Herald reported on Monday, it threatens to make it much harder, and maybe impossible, for Australian couples to hire Indian surrogates. Under the proposed law, a foreign couple wanting to enter an agreement with an Indian surrogate would need a written guarantee of citizenship for the child from their government.

In a response to questions from the Herald the Australia High Commission said it expected Indian laws to change in response to the growing demand for surrogacy. ”Any changes to legislation in India could impact on eligibility for Australian citizenship,” the statement said. The Indian legislation would also prohibit gay couples from hiring surrogates unless local laws change to recognise same-sex relationships.


3 comments for “Canadian Couple Shocked To Learn Twins Born By An Indian Surrogate Are Not Theirs”

  • Jon Loves Megan

    Lesson here: do not do embryo adoption, and check out your clinic carefully – a mix-up with embryos is unforgivable.

  • Olivia

    India has never seemed very relaible country for surrogacy, There are no laws govern assisted reproductive technology. maybe you can find good clinics there but I doubt about it, too. When you are ready to do such important step as surrogacy you must be sure in the clinic and in the country where to do it. Surrogacy in India is cheap but it is very very risky. Sometimes it is better to spend more time searching and find better options. For example, you can go to Ukraine, that has a prosperous surrogacy industry. In Biotexcom you can do surrogacy for only 30000 euros with guarantee and unlimited attampts when in India it is about 25000 euros. So it is better to pay a little more but have no worries and breed your own healthy child.

  • This article is 5 years old, sadly DNA mismatches and embryo mix ups are still happening today with Indian Clinics. Clearly no one is regulating, nor implementing actual standards in practice. It is now 2015, and new draft ART Bill will be decided on next month, I am not sure that addresses any of the issues that have caused such disasters.

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