KOCHI: A group of foreign students pursuing the‘Semester at Sea’ programme in the US arrived on a visit here on Wednesday.
Over 30 undergraduate students of Medical Ethics along with their faculty member Mary Ann Cutter visited CIMAR at Cheranalloor and held discussions on medical tourism, abortion and surrogacy.
Cutter said the illegal abortion centres were booming in India on account of the legal hurdles which came in the way of the medical termination of pregnancy(MTP). “In the US, the decision to have an abortion fully lies with the mother where as in India, it needs to be certified by a doctor and can only be carried out as per the set guidelines. Because of this there has been an increase in the number of illegal abortion centres and the ensuing complications,” she said.
Dr Parasuram Gopinath, consultant at CIMAR, said the team discussed India’s emergence as a global leader in the field of medical tourism. “The biggest advantage is having world class doctors equipped with cutting-edge technology at considerably lower cost,” he said.
According to Dr Gopinath, strict government regulations had brought down the number of unnecessary surrogacy to a large extend. “Statistics showed 80 per cent of the surrogacy treatment in India was done for foreigners and of that 60 per cent were for gay couples which amounted to a large number of unnecessary surrogacy. The Government of India through a recent notification has banned all types of surrogacy for foreigners, NRIs and PIOs,” he said.
The ‘Semester at Sea’ students, who set out from San Diego in the US on January 5, have covered the US, Japan, China, Vietnam and Myanmar before making the port of call here.
The programme will cover 11 countries located across four continents. The 105 day-long trip will conclude at Hamburg in Germany on April 19.