The screen grab of a video uploaded to Vignesh Shivan’s Instagram account
The screen grab of a video uploaded to Vignesh Shivan’s Instagram account

Nothing illegal in Nayanthara-Vignesh surrogacy procedure: Inquiry report

The hospital produced a medical certificate required for surrogacy as per the ICMR guidelines to the investigation team.

CHENNAI: Actor Nayanthara and movie director Vignesh Shivan had registered their marriage in 2016 and signed a contract with the surrogate mother in November, 2021, said an inquiry report released by the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services on the controversy of the couple announcing birth of their twin babies just four months after their marriage in June.

The report said the committee has also sent a notice to the private fertility clinic for its failure to maintain proper records about the treatment of the couple and health records of the surrogate mother. The report said the high level committee constituted by the health department on October 13, 2022 questioned the doctors who treated the couple and the surrogate mother during her pregnancy period. However, it doesn’t mention questioning the couple. It neither named the celebrity couple nor the hospital that facilitated the surrogacy.

Investigations revealed the age of the intending couple and surrogate mother is as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines for artificial insemination and surrogacy. It was found that the surrogate mother is of appropriate age and she also has a living child as per the guidelines. The private clinic submitted the marriage certificate of the couple, dated March 11, 2016, and its authenticity was confirmed by the registration department, said the report.

The hospital produced a medical certificate required for surrogacy as per the ICMR guidelines to the investigation team. The report said oocytes and sperm were obtained from the couple and the embryo was stored in the frozen state in the laboratory in August 2020. The couple signed the contract with the surrogate mother in November, 2021, and the embryo was implanted in March, 2022. The babies were delivered through cesarean section. They were handed over to the couple on October 9, it added.

While the doctor who treated the couple said the family physician recommended the couple for the treatment in 2020 through a letter, the investigation team couldn’t meet the physician in person in the mentioned address or contact him over phone. Further investigation revealed the physician has moved abroad.

As far as the violations are concerned, the hospital also didn’t maintain proper records regarding treatment provided to the couple and also health reports of the surrogate mother during the pregnancy period. Considering this, the committee has also sent a notice to the fertility clinic asking why the facility shouldn’t be temporarily sealed, said the report.

The report also observed that under the ART Act, 2021, it has been mandated that the surrogate mother should be a relative of the couple. However, according to the ICMR guidelines before the act came into force, there were provisions for women unrelated to the couple to be a surrogate and money can be provided only for mandatory requirements, the report stated.

Timeline

March 11, 2016: Registered marriage
August 2020: Oocytes and sperm obtained and the embryo was stored in the frozen state in the laboratory
November, 2021: Contract signed with surrogate mother
March, 2022: Embroyo implanted
October 9: Babies were handed over to the couple
October 9: Vignesh Shivan posted pictures of the babies on social media
October 13: Health department constituted a committee to investigate

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