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Nepalese court suspends commercial surrogacy

01 September 2015

By Ana Ilic

Appeared in BioNews 817

An injunction has been issued in Nepal to stop women from carrying surrogate pregnancies on behalf of foreigners.

The Nepalese Supreme Court issued the order last week as it waits to rule on a petition to ban surrogacy that argues the practice 'exploits' the bodies of impoverished women.

Until now, commercial surrogacy was allowed in Nepal, as long as the surrogate is not Nepalese herself.

'There are no laws regarding surrogacy... it raises many constitutional and legal questions,' said Nahakul Subedi, spokesman for the Supreme Court. 'So the court issued a stay order on surrogacy services yesterday... until the case is settled,' Subedi told AFP.

In April the earthquake in Nepal highlighted the use of Nepalese surrogacy agencies by gay Israeli men (for whom surrogacy is banned in their native country) when Israel airlifted 26 surrogate-born babies out of the disaster zone (see BioNews 800). Many same-sex couples have sought surrogacy in Nepal in recent years, especially after India banned the practice to same-sex parents there.

The injunction will not affect those who have already begun surrogacy pregnancies.

The Supreme Court has ordered the government to respond in the next two weeks to the injunction, and has been asked to reply to a long list of questions regarding the legal rights of parties involved, including the rights and benefits of the surrogate, the citizenship of the child and responsibility of the agencies, among other questions.

Doron Mamet, owner of the Tammuz surrogacy agency, rejected the petition's claim that the surrogate mothers are exploited. 'These are the normal demagogic statements of people who are trying by every means possible to stop surrogacies; they aren't based on any truth,' he told Forward. 'All the surrogate mothers come of their own free choice, after the agreement with them has been examined in depth.'

However, some believe that the intervention could be a positive one. Dana Magdassi, attorney and owner of Lotus surrogacy agency in Nepal, said: 'The questions the judge asks are relevant and legitimate questions – what happens regarding the child's rights, the woman's rights; who makes sure the woman is paid.'

However, Magdassi added to Forward that she is 'optimistic' the court will reject the petition.

Meanwhile, Israel's same-sex surrogacy bill, which was passed by the cabinet on first reading last June (see BioNews 757), has yet to progress through parliament.

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

29 August 2017 - by Taqdeer Sidhu 
Commercial surrogacy will be permanently banned in Cambodia if a new law drafted by Women's Affairs Ministry is approved...
07 November 2016 - by Lucas Taylor 
The Cambodian Health Minster Mam Bunheng has published a directive appearing to ban all forms of surrogacy in the country...
24 October 2016 - by Lucas Taylor 
Two US couples have filed a petition at the High Court of Bombay to reclaim embryos they transferred into the country before India's ban on international surrogacy arrangements was introduced last year...
29 February 2016 - by Ëlo Luik 
'Our Journey' is an honest and exhilarating account of one couple's experience with US surrogacy, as well as a practical guide for those considering following in their footsteps...
11 January 2016 - by Rebecca Carr 
Italy's interior minister, Angelino Alfano, has said that people who use surrogacy should be treated as sex offenders and sent to prison, in the face of Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi’s attempts to grant family rights to same-sex couples...

27 July 2015 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
A male same-sex couple have been stuck in Thailand with their baby daughter for the past six months, after the surrogate mother refused to allow them to leave the country claiming they are not 'an ordinary couple'...
06 July 2015 - by Kirsty Oswald 
One of France's highest courts ruled on Friday that children born to surrogates abroad have the right to have their births and citizenship recognised by the state...
11 May 2015 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
A US couple have been left without a birth certificate for their newborn son in Mexico after a sudden change in state law....
05 May 2015 - by Kirsty Oswald 
Israel has evacuated a number of babies born to Israeli parents and surrogate mothers in Nepal, in the wake of the earthquake which killed at least 7500 people...
27 April 2015 - by Professor Jenni Millbank 
Surrogacy has received vastly disproportionate attention in Australia given its infrequent occurrence. In less than 30 years we have seen 27 public inquiries and at least 17 different laws passed. Many thousands of media articles and current affairs stories have been penned and filmed...

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