Friday Legal Updates – – Norwegian Stuck in Legal Limbo with Twins via Surrogacy in India

Surrogacy – Another case out of India involving a woman who travelled to India for surrogacy and embryo donation. The outcome of the case is unclear; however, the boys could ultimately end up being adopted to others.

MUMBAI: It’s a story that defies conventional norms and seeks to redefine questions of law and ethics across boundaries. An unusual surrogacy case that has opened a can of worms came to light early this month when it was discovered that a Norwegian mother was trying to return to her home country with twin boys who share no genetic link with her.

In May 2009, Andras Bell (name changed) approached Rotunda fertility clinic in Bandra and commissioned a surrogacy. As she was suffering from premature ovarian failure, the 31-year-old woman, with the help of the clinic, chose a sperm donor of Scandinavian origin and an Indian egg donor. The tailor-made embryo created within 48 hours was implanted in the womb of an Indian surrogate, and her boys were born in April this year.

What Bell did not anticipate is that the now mandatory DNA test—demanded by many European consulates in the wake of the recent surrogacy controversies—revealed that she and her children were not biologically related. Bell had no genetic link with the children except that she had commissioned the surrogacy and signed a few pages at the IVF clinic stating that she would be their ‘legal mother’.

The counsul general of Norway therefore rejected Bell’s plea for travel documents and paperwork necessary step towards obtaining citizenship. Ten days ago, two Norwegian embassy representatives arrived in Mumbai and contacted Rotunda clinic. They asked for the relevant paperwork that proved Bell had commissioned the surrogacy.

…The fate of the two boys is not known: the chances of them being listed for adoption are very high. “There is no way the children can be granted citizenship as per the Indian laws. It will be difficult for Bell to prove that she is their mother in any court of law,’’ said legal expert Amit Karkhanis. “Worse, the children could end up for adoption.’’

Last heard, with no alternative in sight, Bell has already begun the adoption procedure.

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