HYDERABAD: The alleged violations at infertility centres in Hyderabad have long been in the notice of the Telangana Health and Family Welfare department. However, they are wary of taking action as one question crops up in their minds: Where will the surrogate mothers be sent for further medication after an ‘illegal facility’ is raided?
Sources in the Health department said it has come to the notice of officials that at an Infertility Centre located near Uppal, at least 30 women (surrogate mothers) were illegally confined in flats till delivery of the child. The issue was brought up at a Medical Council meeting held around three to four months ago, but the officials could not come to a conclusion on the aftermath of a crackdown.
On Saturday, Hyderabad Police Task Force team, along with Hyderabad District Medical and Health Officer Dr Padmaja, conducted checks on Sai Kiran Infertility Centre located at Banjara Hills. Task Force officials, who got tipped off about the alleged irregularities at the centre through some doctors, said that 48 surrogate mothers were confined there.
In another case in November 2016, officials had cancelled medical licence of a Gynecologist who used to own an infertility centre as irregularities were reported. In a shocking case there, a couple who opted for surrogacy, got to know that the baby was not theirs. “A surrogate baby was born but its DNA did not match with that of the couple who opted for surrogacy. They got to know about this before flying to USA. These are the range of violations,” an official said.
While officials have information on Infertility Centres where surrogate mothers are confined or rules are being violated, immediate raids is not a possibility. Officials said before conducting the raids it is important to figure out where would the surrogate mothers (confined at centres) be relocated.
However, the issue will be discussed at the monthly Medical Council meeting, scheduled to be conducted in the coming days. Apart from government officials, specialist doctors from private hospitals are part of the Medical Council.
‘Our faclity is legal’
While government officials who raided Sai Kiran Infertility Clinic on Saturday said that the facility did not have permissions whereas as sources from the Centre claimed that it was untrue. “Prior to 2016, when foreigners were allowed in India to choose surrogates, the Indian Council of Medical Research asked for applications to enrol as centres that would conduct pregnancies using assisted reproductive technologies (ART). We applied and were enrolled and we have an enrolment number. To enter the country, Foreigners need this enrolment number for their medical visa approval,” informed the source from the centre. Once foreigners were stopped after the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill was approved in the Parliament in 2016. After that, no new changes have been made to the rules. The centre has been registered as an ART clinic, approved by the DMHO, sources said.