Following the August 25 interim order of the Supreme Court (SC) to halt surrogacy services in Nepal, the Department of Immigration (DoI) has decided not to issue ‘entry visas’ to the babies born to surrogates until the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) issues new directive on the issue.
Stating that surrogacy services have already become controversial in Nepal, the DoI said it cannot continue issuing visas for the babies.
The SC, acting on a writ petition, on August 25 had issued a stay order to halt surrogacy services in Nepal after legal controversies regarding it. It even asked the hospitals running surrogacy services and the MoHP to furnish details of the legal bases for operating such businesses.
The DoI has also asked the MoHP for written instrurction on how to deal with surrogacies commissioned before the court’s order.
The director general (DG) of DoI, Kedar Neupane, informed that they have sought proper directive from the MoHP in the aftermath of the SC order.
“We have written to Guna Raj Lohani, spokesperson at the MoHP, on what to do with the existing surrogacy cases,” said Neuapane. “We have been receiving applications for ‘entry visas’ even after the court’s order. We need clear guidelines regarding the surrogacies that were commissioned before the court order.”
Records at the DoI show that it has already issued travel documents to more than 70 babies born to surrogates. Israeli couples top the list among those who come for surrogacy service in Nepal followed by Australia.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has also announced that it will not issue birth certificates to the babies born to surrogate mothers until the Supreme Court issues order.
“We have stopped issuing birth certificates after the interim order of the court and have asked all wards in Kathmandu to do the same,” Chief of the KMC Rudra Tamang told Republica. “Until legal controversy over surrogacy started, we did not know that surrogacy service was being provided in Nepal.” However, KMC doesn’t have record of how many babies of surrogate mothers have received birth certificates till date.
Although the SC ruling of August 25 ordered halt to surrogacy services, it hasn’t spoken anything about the ongoing surrogacies. As a result hospitals have not been able to deliver the babies to the Intended Parents (IPs). The hospitals like Grande City Clinic (GCC), Grande International Hospital, Om Hospital and Research Center, and Venus Hospital among others have said that they are facing problems in registering births and make arrangements for travel documents to such babies.
The GGC, which has been providing surrogacy services to many surrogacy centers, said it has more than 150 ongoing surrogacies ranging from one to nine months.