Hyderabad: A newborn girl in Hyderabad has virtually no one to call her own even though she has a mother who gave birth to her and biological parents who decided to bring her into the world. The entire health, women and child welfare department as well as the Hyderabad High Court are now debating the legal question mark that faces the surrogate baby and asks who is responsible for her future.
Last week, a young married woman in labour came to the Government Modern Maternity Hospital at Petlaburj in Hyderabad and gave birth to a baby girl. She said she was a surrogate mother and was promised Rs 3 lakh but when the parents, reportedly from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, found out it was a girl, they reportedly did the absconding act.
The baby, now a week old, is virtually an orphan even though she has biological parents and even a mother who has given birth to her.
The police have not been able to find the clinic or hospital where the in-vitro-fertilisation and implantation took place even though the woman mentioned a private hospital in SR Nagar area of Hyderabad.
In June, there were raids on two fertility centres in and around Hyderabad – at least 128 pregnant women carrying surrogate babies were found there. With police cases being filed against the centres for alleged violation of various laws, there is now a question mark on what happens to the infants. At least eight of the babies have already been born.
V Karuna, commissioner, health and family welfare department, said they are also wondering the way forward and considering if the state frame its own guidelines in the absence of a central law.
“The state is there to protect all children, that is our duty. But it is really the question of these children who belong nowhere. They are one step beyond what we know as orphans. I really don’t know the way forward but we have to find answers. We are also discussing with the Government of India.”
The Hyderabad High Court has said the government has to take the call on who would be handed over the babies.
Dr Ramesh Reddy, Medical Council of India member and director of medical education, Telangana, said this is going to become a huge issue in the future.
“This baby is a surrogate. Born to a surrogate mother. The biological parents may be there. Now do they need to adopt this baby? These are very complicated legal questions which have to be addressed and incorporated in the new law on surrogacy.”
The young woman who gave birth to the baby girl has agreed to breastfeed her but a DNA test is likely to be ordered to check if she is indeed a surrogate mother and whether the baby can be handed over to her – an outcome that depends on whether she and her husband are willing.