Surrogate mother with twins dies at AIIMS: Doctors call for stern surrogacy laws
New Delhi: Scores of medicos practising at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi are demanding stricter surrogacy laws after a 42-year-old surrogate mother, who was 17 weeks pregnant with twin babies, died recently.
The woman is said to have medical history including tuberculosis, hydrocephalus and depression.
The agitated doctors have put forth this demand in order to avoid such tragedies during commercial surrogacy through firm rules and regulations.
Moreover, they have also published a case report in the latest issue of RFP India Journal of Hospital Administration.
"The 42-year-old widow was referred by a private hospital (IVF center) to AIIMS for consultation regarding complications related to the pregnancy. It was revealed that she was a surrogate with 17 weeks period of gestation carrying twins in exchange of monetary benefits and had concealed her past medical history of tuberculosis, hydrocephalus and depression," said Dr Abhishek Yadav, Assistant Professor at Forensic Department at AIIMS while speaking to ANI.
"The patient told about her history of consuming anti-depressant and she was advised Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) by AIIMS doctors," he added.
"Before the commencement of MTP, the patient's condition worsened in the labour room as she had taken a huge quantity of antidepressants. So, she was shifted to Emergency for treatment where she passed away. Her body was brought to the Mortuary of Forensic department for post-mortem," said Dr Swati Tyagi, a forensic expert at AIIMS.
"Hence, regulations in the surrogacy law in India is the need of hour. As per the guidelines of ICMR which were followed before the approval of Surrogacy Regulation Bill, she was not a suitable surrogate to carry fetus," she said
For a woman to be chosen as a surrogate, she has to undergo inquisitive medical and laboratory examination, provide past history of any medical condition, family history of a disease condition etc to rule out baby having any genetic or chromosomal disease and all other conditions as per new Surrogacy Bill," Tyagi added.
The popularity and utility of assisted reproductive techniques (ART) are on the rise due to an increase in the prevalence of infertility all over the world. Surrogacy has emerged as a popular alternative method of infertile couples, singles and even more professionals to have children.
Surrogacy is a legal arrangement where a surrogate mother contracts to carry and deliver a child for another couple or person. It may be commercial or altruistic depending upon the factor whether the surrogate receives financial benefits in exchange of the baby. Countries all over the world are divided over the ethical implications of surrogacy.
India recently joined the group of countries banning commercial surrogacy and permitting only altruistic surrogacy after the parliamentary approval of Surrogacy Regulations Bill in 2018.
Health experts say that India has been a popular surrogacy destination worldwide due to low cost, international standards of ART in the procedures as well as no defined rules and regulations for citizens, non-residents and non-citizens.
Absence of strict regulating laws has been used by the mediators and touts to financially exploit both intending couples as well as poor surrogates.
By Priyanka Sharma