A few months after the surrogacy bill underwent scrutiny to regulate ethical surrogacy in India, over 45 surrogate mothers were found at an infertility centre in the uptown Banjara Hills area of Hyderabad recently.
While it was claimed that the women were kept in this space for observational purposes, the raid on Saturday proved otherwise. These women were kept in a confined apartment above the infertility centre illegally for over 9 months until they gave birth to the child.
The Task Force members told The New Indian Express that the surrogate mothers had been kept for nine months in these two buildings until they gave birth to the child. However, nourishment and pharmaceutical needs were given to them. While the raid has brought to light only one case, the authorities suspect that there may be numerous such centres that are running illegally in the city. One of the main reasons for this racket to continue is the large amounts of money it generates for its dealers.
DCP B Limba Reddy said the infertility centre was gathering over Rs 15 to 30 lakhs but sadly only Rs 3 lakhs reached the surrogate mothers. “Fearing that the surrogate mothers would run away, they were confined to the hospital. The women used to be provided with 10,000 as subsistence allowance,” Limba Reddy told The New Indian Express .
While some of the women were from Hyderabad and Delhi, Police fear that there could be cross border connection in this case as there was a woman from Nepal as well, amongst these 45 women.
Dr K. Padmaja, district medical and health officer, told Deccan Chronicle, “No permission was taken by the unit to double up as a surrogate clinic. It is not even registered as a fertility centre. They are only registered under Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal diagnostic Techniques Act. But here we have found a full unit functioning without following the prescribed guidelines of the health department.”
In the first week of March, the government in its statement to the Supreme Court expressed that it will not encourage or support business surrogacy. The regulations in the governments bill clearly stated that the facility to opt for surrogacy will strictly be for infertile Indian married couples and not for people from other countries.