BENGALURU: A city-based In-Vitro Fertility (IVF) centre had to pay a heavy price for unfair trade practice and laxity on its part leading to a Mysuru-based man not begetting a child through surrogacy. The single man, closing on 40, wanted to father a child through a surrogate mother so that his own mother would be able to see a grandchild in her lifetime.
However, with the failed procedure which involved alleged negligence and laxity on part of the IVF centre, the IV Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum comprising president S L Patil and member T N Roopa ordered Dr Rama’s Fertility IVF Centre to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation, Rs 5,000 litigation cost, besides refund of Rs 4.75 lakh paid by Martin Sujay and his mother R S Surya Prabha, residents of NR Mohalla in Mysuru towards cost of the IVF procedure.
An interest rate of 10% per annum is to be levied from the date of periodical payment till the date of realisation.
When Martin and his mother Surya Prabha visited Dr Rama’s Test Tube Baby Centre, they were told that begetting a baby via surrogacy was “as easy as drinking water”. They had approached the IVF centre after seeing an advertisement in a vernacular newspaper. They were asked to pay Rs 7 lakh for the procedure and had to shell out Rs 1.5 lakh extra for twin pregnancy/twin babies.
Martin and Surya Prabha paid Rs 2.25 lakh on August 19, 2016 and Rs 2.5 lakh on April 25, 2017. Thereafter, there was allegedly no proper response from the IVF centre in respect of chances of surrogacy, which was why they moved the consumer forum.
“Considering all the facts, as the complainants Martin and Surya Prabha had to come from Mysuru to Benglauru to attend this case and also losing their hard-earned money, we deem it just and proper that `3 lakh be paid by way of compensation along with Rs 4.75 lakh paid to get a child through surrogacy. We hope the ends of justice will be met sufficiently. We also proposed to fix a litigation of Rs 5,000,” the consumer forum ordered.
The forum said the defendants — Dr Rakhee Mishra, CEO, Aisha Parveen, Counsellor, Dr Papolu Rama Devi of Dr Rama’s Fertility IVF Centre, Indiranagara, Bengaluru — had stated that the quality of sperm given by Martin on August 19, 2016 was not good and that they claimed to have advised him to take some treatment and suggested some medicines. The forum however said that nothing was mentioned in the written arguments to suggest so. “When the preliminary test was not conducted, certainly there was laxity on the part of the defendants. They never informed this to either of the complainants. This itself is unfair trade practice,” the forum said.
With regard to the defendants’ version on identifying a surrogate mother, one was that she was in the hospital while another said she had met with an accident. If the surrogate mother was admitted, how she met with an accident is not explained by producing a copy of the FIR with complaint, where a case may be registered with the police station, the forum said.