HYDERABAD: A division bench of the Hyderabad High Court on Thursday directed the authorities of medical and health department of Telangana not to hand over the babies born to surrogate mothers at Sai Kiran Hospital and Kiran Infertility Center here without prior permission from the court, to the couples who entered into an agreement with the fertility center.
The bench also directed the government to file a counter affidavit in a week about the steps being taken to provide proper medical facilities to the mothers and the newborns. It also ordered installation of an ultrasound machine at the place where the women are being kept now.
The bench passed the order on a taken-up PIL case based on news reports published on June 19 that 48 surrogate mothers with seven to nine months of pregnancy were found by the city police in a raid on the hospital. When the matter came up for hearing, government counsel for medical and health BS Prasad told the court that the said infertility center made surrogacy a big commercial activity by indulging in several irregularities.
A medical team has been visiting the center every week to examine the facilities being extended to mothers and the newborns. Another counsel, appearing for a surrogate mother, expressed apprehension about revealing details of the surrogate mothers who recently gave birth.
The counsel for the fertility center told the court about the difficulty being faced in conducting medical tests for surrogate mothers due to sealing of the four ultrasound machines by the government.Reacting to these submissions, the bench made it clear that it would look only into the issue of protection and well-being of the mothers and babies in the present case, but not into the issue whether sealing of the above machines was proper or not.
Already instructions were given to the officials to ensure that the identity of surrogate mothers should not be revealed. Contrary to the order, if any of the media discloses their details it amounts to contempt of court, the bench warned.In reply, the government counsel submitted that no media has disclosed the details pertaining to surrogate mothers after the issue was taken up by the court. The bench then granted one week’s time to the government for filing a counter affidavit and adjourned the case.