48 surrogate moms left in lurch as officials seal illegal clinic

48 surrogate moms left in lurch as officials seal illegal clinic

48 surrogate moms left in lurch as officials seal illegal clinic
The closure of a fertility clinic by police task force and district health officials has left 48 poor surrogate mothers carrying babies for infertile couples in a bind.

The clinic — Sai Kiran Hospital in Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills — was closed for running an illegal surrogacy racket after a raid on Sunday.

The women, who are in different stages of pregnancy, are clueless about the couples who had hired them to bear their babies. The hospital had locked them on its third floor and had signed an agreement to release them only after they deliver.

“Each of them had been promised Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh, besides free food, medical aid and a stay at the hospital for nine months,” the task force’s sub-inspector Srinivas said.

He said that the clinic generally charges Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh from each couple that seeks surrogacy services.

Police also arrested two brokers who were supplying women to several fertility clinics in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, that have no permission to function. Most of the women who act as surrogates are from poor families, while it is yet unclear if all of them are married.

Police said Sai Kiran Hospital is not among the three clinics permitted to offer surrogacy services in the twin cities. “But it has been running successfully for the past four years,” Telangana Health Minister Dr Laxma Reddy said on Monday.  “The previous governments did not frame rules, but the Telangana government is formulating and implementing rules. We will clear out the illegal clinics,” the minister said, blaming the former governments for allowing illegal surrogacy clinics to burgeon in the state.

Dr Reddy said he would hold a review meeting on June 22 to discuss the implementation of surrogacy regulation bill, 2016. The meeting would frame an action plan to enforce the rules strictly. The state is also planning to appoint an authority to review applications to approve fertility clinics and monitor them thereafter, he said.