Surrogate parents want babies homeThe government’s latest directive on surrogacy parenthood has become a source of emotional distress for many foreign parents.
The government’s latest directive on surrogacy parenthood has become a source of emotional distress for many foreign parents.
They protested in front of the Ministry of Health and Population in Kathmandu on Monday saying that more than 25 babies born prior to the government’s new directive were stranded in the lack of exit visas.
“We respect the decision taken by the government to ban surrogacy services in Nepal now. But our process started much earlier when there was a provision of allowing surrogacy services to foreign couples,” said Michael, 42, who showed up with his five-month old baby girl born to an Indian surrogate mother to appeal for permission to fly back home.
Before the decision to ban surrogacy services was taken on September 18, the government had allowed around 70 babies born through surrogacy to travel to the respective countries of their parent.
Michael and two other Australian parents, who paid for commercial surrogate services in Nepal, wanted a letter from the ministry to facilitate exit visas for the newborns.
The Australian Embassy in Nepal has already issued passports to the babies after conducting DNA tests to verify the genetic connection with the father. However, when the foreign parents decided to take their newborns to their respective countries including Australia, the Department of Immigration refused to issue exit visas for the babies citing the ban on surrogacy services.
“The babies already have passports and are foreigners. And we don’t have any idea how long it will take for the babies to be free to go home,” said Cameroon, 35, another parent from Australia with a four-week old baby.
The parents who have been visiting the Department of Immigration and the ministry were told that the government was trying to work out a way based on the international practice to allow the babies to fly to their respective home country.
“But there is no definite answer and we don’t know how long this will go,” said Stephen, 28, a parent of twins born via surrogacy.
“The foreign parents who opted for the surrogacy services in Nepal before the new policy came into effect could seek legal support,” said Sapana Pradhan Malla, a lawyer with the Forum for Women Law and Development. “The government should introduce measures to allow the foreign parents to take their babies home.” Foreign parents from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Israel and Serbia are left stranded with their newborn babies between three weeks and five weeks now.