The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the National Board – constituted under the new Assisted Reproductive Technology Act (ART) and Surrogacy Act – to give a hearing to a couple who wish to import their embryos from the US.
A division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and SM Modak asked the couple to appear before the National Board on August 1 and the board has been asked to give them a hearing and decide on their matter expeditiously.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by a 43-year-old woman, who suffers from medical issues, and her husband. The petition filed through senior advocate Niteen Pradhan and advocate Subhadra Khot sought to import their embryo from the US.
Pradhan argued that the embryos belonged to the couple and is required for their personal use.
The couple got married in the US in 2010 and lived there until 2019, when they moved back to India. While they lived in the US, they had preserved their 5 embryos there.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, however, argued that “there is an absolute bar for importing the embryo incorporated under the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Act, 2021”. He said that Section 29 of the said Act permits the “transfers within the country and outside India but there is no provision facilitating the import of the embryo”.
The court felt that the National Board, which is constituted under the ART Act, can consider all the aspects of the matter and pass an appropriate decision.
“We are told that the National Board would be sitting on 01/08/2022 with regard to another matter. The present matter also be considered by the same board on the said date,” said the court asking the couple to appear before the National Board on August 1.
Asking the Board to decide on the issue on it’s merit, the HC has disposed of the petition.
Pradhan said that they have received a letter from the Deputy secretary to the government of India, Dinesh Kumar asking them to appear before the National Board in Delhi on August 1. “They have been given an option to either appear in person or through video conferencing,” said the letter.