Ending a fortnight of uncertainty over the fate of a surrogate baby boy caught in a spar over monetary settlement, its Coimbatore-based biological father has come forward to pay Rs 5 lakh and take custody of the child, according to an advocate dealing with the issue.
“The baby’s biological father has approached my client and expressed willingness to take custody of the infant. We have asked him to produce an authentication letter from the Iswarya Women’s Hospital and Fertility Centre certifying that he was the commissioning parent of the child so that we can hand over the baby to him,” M V Vijayaraghavan, the legal counsel for the surrogate mother Meena (name changed) said on Monday.
The identity of the biological father (believed to be a city-based doctor) has been kept confidential as part of a privacy deal. The unnamed infant had captured media attention on September 20 when Iswarya Hospital lodged a police complaint alleging that Meena had demanded Rs 5 lakh to hand over the baby. The hospital had claimed that as per an agreement (subsequently nullified) the mother was to be paid Rs 1 lakh for renting her womb.
However, Meena and her husband alleged that the hospital authorities had ill-treated the surrogate mother forcing her to walk out of the clinic when she was three months pregnant. Later, Meena had delivered the baby at a hospital in Dindigul district. While the Coimbatore police had initially registered a case charging Meena with extortion and criminal breach of trust, within days the case was closed as “mistake of facts” owing to inadequate laws to deal with the issue.
According to Vijayaraghavan, the biological father has also agreed to pay Rs 5 lakh to Meena’s family. On her part Meena has consented to give a written undertaking stating that she would not have any claim over the child in the future. “The money which we would receive from the boy’s genetic father will help us a great deal,” Meena’s husband said.