Mumbai: Childless couple move court to implement Surrogacy Act

A couple in their forties has approached the Bombay High Court seeking constitution of a district surrogacy board as per the provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, and direction to the Government to process registrations of infertility clinics in Greater Mumbai.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, November 29, 2022, 03:17 AM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

Mumbai: A couple in their forties has approached the Bombay High Court seeking constitution of a district surrogacy board as per the provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, and direction to the Government to process registrations of infertility clinics in Greater Mumbai.

A division bench headed by Justice SV Gangapurwala asked additional government pleaders Poornima Kantharia and Jyoti Chavan to take instructions on the plea and kept the matter for hearing on Dec 12.

The couple married in 2016. The wife, 41, stated that she had been suffering from diabetes and related ailments since she was 20. The couple said they tried for a natural pregnancy but failed. So they approached fertility clinics and experts, but to no avail.

Following the pandemic lockdown, the couple felt they could not take further medical supervision and treatment from fertility clinics.

Early this year, they approached various fertility clinics in Mumbai for Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) i.e., surrogacy. That is when they learnt that no fertility clinic has been granted registration yet and no surrogacy clinics have started working. So their application for ART has not been acknowledged yet by any clinic.

Despite the law to regulate ART coming into force, no fertility clinic has been granted registration, which is a pre-requisite for processing a surrogacy application and obtaining a 'certificate of essentiality' and 'certificate of recommendation' as prescribed, the couple’s plea said.

In the absence of a district medical board, the petitioners said they cannot even start the process documentation necessary to qualify for surrogacy.

“Prohibiting the petitioners from undergoing the ART procedures would be against the Fundamental Rights enshrined under Articles 14 & 21 of the Constitution,” their plea said.

The couple have prayed that a district surrogacy board be constituted as prescribed under the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021. They have also sought a direction to the State Government and the competent authority to process the long-pending registrations of infertility clinics in Greater Mumbai.

Since the prescribed authorities and the board are not available at present and are unlikely to be constituted in the near future, the petition also prays that the couple be allowed to proceed with ART without complying with the provisions of the Act.

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