Nepal | July 02, 2020

No law on altruistic surrogacy despite Supreme Court directive

Ram Kumar Kamat
Share Now:

Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT

Kathmandu, October 14

The government has yet to do anything about the Supreme Court directive to the government two years ago ordering it to enact a new law to govern altruistic surrogacy.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population Mahendra Shrestha said the ministry was preparing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) policy, which was the first step to decide surrogacy issues.

“Surrogacy is not that bad but seems to have failed around the world. When a surrogate mother gives birth to a mentally retarded child or a child with congenital defects, nobody — neither the surrogate mother nor the intended parents — take custody of the child,” he said, adding that if surrogacy law was enacted, it would only be for Nepali nationals.

Minister of State for Health Dr Surendra Kumar Yadav told THT that the ministry had not been able to discuss the issues related to altruistic surrogacy due to its priority on some more important policy issues. “We need to carefully analyse the possibility of acceptance of surrogacy and its possible impact on our society. We cannot easily emulate the practice of other countries,” the state minister added.

Gynaecologists Dr Jageshwar Gautam and Nutan Sharma, however, said surrogacy option should be available for childless couples. “A woman may not have womb for various reasons and if such a woman is not given an option to conceive through surrogacy, then it cannot do justice to the woman,” Dr Gautam argued. Dr Sharma echoed his views.

The two gynaecologists said while banning paid surrogacy could be justified, banning altruistic surrogacy would not be justified. They said only Nepali nationals should be allowed to benefit from altruistic surrogacy.

“If somebody agrees to rent out her womb for free to her close relatives, then why should the state object to such practice? This newly developed medical technique is the most preferred way for childless couples to have babies,” Dr Gautam said. He said over 400 women would benefit annually if the government allowed altruistic surrogacy.

“If a person can donate kidney, eyes or other organs after his/her death, why can’t a woman rent out her womb?” he wondered.

Dr Gautam said that while allowing altruistic surrogacy the only thing that the government needed to be mindful was that the woman who agreed to rent out her womb for free did not face any health risk or became a victim of exploitation.

Advocate Nirmala Bhandari said a new law was needed to govern surrogacy. “The Supreme Court has said surrogacy for the commercial purpose cannot be allowed but there is no law that can penalise people who are engaged in commercial surrogacy,” she argued.

Senior Advocate Purna Man Shakya said the SC had observed that the right to rent out womb was not a fundamental right. “Most countries around the world allow surrogacy on humanitarian grounds which enable relatives to rent out womb for free to help childless couples have babies. Some countries, however, allow women to rent out their womb for commercial purposes,” he said. He added that in Nepal it would be better to completely ban surrogacy as altruistic surrogacy could be misused.

The Cabinet had decided on 19 September 2015 to ban surrogacy. A division bench of the then chief justice Sushila Karki and Justice Govinda Kumar Upadhyaya had passed an order on 14 July 2016 in a surrogacy case, ordering the government to ban commercial surrogacy. It had, however, told the government to enact a new law to allow altruistic surrogacy for Nepali nationals.


A version of this article appears in print on October 15, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

In Pictures: Tourism workers raise their voice

Kathmandu, July 01 Members of Paryatan Majdoor Sangharsha Samiti (Tourism Labour Struggle Committee) voice their concerns for tourism-related employment, in the wake of coronavirus ciris hitting the tourism industry hard, in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu, on Wednesday, July 01, 2020. Read More...

482 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, nationwide tally crosses 14,000

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population has recorded 482 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Wednesday taking the country’s total infection count to 14,046. Of the newly infected, 365 are males and 117 females. In total, 12,272 males and 1,774 females have contracted the disease. Read More...

Young adults receive health materials in Bajura's rural municipality

BAJURA: As many as 280 girls and boys have received health and safety materials in Khaptad Chhededaha Rural Municipality of Bajura district. The materials were provided by Mahila Bikas Manch (Women Development Forum) in coordination with the local level. Krishnaa Dani, Programme Coordinator of Read More...

Mastermind behind explosion at ex-minister Baskota's house arrested

BHAKTAPUR: A man suspected to be the main conspirator behind the bomb blast carried out at the under-construction house belonging to former Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota, has been arrested. An improvised explosive device (IED) went off at the house on Read More...

Nepal logs 30th coronavirus related death

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population has recorded yet another coronavirus-related fatality on Wednesday taking the total death-toll in the country to 30. A 45-year-old male from Ramaroshan Rural Municipality-5 in Achham district of far-western Nepal tested positive for COVID-19 after Read More...

NC leader Gagan Thapa meets with youth activists staging Satyagraha

Kathmandu, July 1 Nepali Congress leader Gagan Thapa met with youth activist Iih, who along with other campaigners, has been staging Satyagraha for the last six days in Mangalbazaar, Patan, without drinking water or eating food, demanding accountability and effective handling of Coronavirus crisi Read More...

COVID-19 Update: 482 new cases, one death recorded on Wednesday

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 233,227 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method and 300,620 Rapid Diagn Read More...

PM KP Sharma Oli visits Gangalal Heart Centre for routine check-up

KATHMANDU: Amid tensions escalating in ruling Nepali Communist Party (NCP), party co-chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today visited Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre to get himself checked. It has been learnt that PM Oli went to the hospital for regular health screening. According th Read More...