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Estranged husband refuses to cooperate in IVF process, SC stays divorce proceedings

The couple had married in 2017 and after persistent requests, in March this year, the husband agreed to have a child through IVF. However, he abruptly filed for divorce while the IVF treatment was under way and severed all contacts with the wife (44).
Last Updated : 18 December 2023, 13:38 IST
Last Updated : 18 December 2023, 13:38 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has stayed the divorce proceedings between an estranged couple after the wife sought her husband's cooperation to conceive through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) process for which she wants his sperm.

The woman has moved the apex court seeking transfer of the pending divorce case filed by her husband in Bhopal to Lucknow where she currently lives with her parents.

The transfer petition came up for hearing before a bench of Justice Pankaj Mithal who agreed to hear the matter.

"The divorce petition between the parties is pending at family court, Bhopal. Petitioner-wife is residing at Lucknow and wants the same to be transferred to Lucknow. Issue notice (to husband) returnable within six weeks," the bench said in its order passed on December 1.

"In the meantime, there shall be a stay of further proceedings in divorce case pending before the court of principal judge, family court, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh," it said.

Advocate Asad Alvi appeared for the woman in the apex court.

In her plea, the 44-year-old woman said the couple had married in November 2017 and, despite repeated request, her husband used his unemployment as an excuse to delay parenthood.

The woman said after persistent requests, in March this year, her husband agreed to have a child through IVF for which they underwent various medical tests and started taking the required medication under the care of a doctor.

"However, to the petitioner's shock and dismay, the respondent (husband) abruptly filed for divorce while the IVF treatment was underway. He severed all contact with the petitioner, blocking her calls, and leaving her emotionally stranded," the plea, filed through advocate Aishwarya Pathak, claimed.

While seeking transfer of the pending divorce case to Lucknow, the petition said the woman was ousted from her matrimonial home and she faces significant challenges defending it in Bhopal as she is living with her parents in the Uttar Pradesh capital.

Along with the petition, she has also filed an application seeking a direction to her husband "to co-operate with petitioner and the doctors in the IVF process and provide sperm and other co-operation whenever it is needed or advised by the IVF doctors".

The plea said after their marriage, the man revealed his unemployment and requested the woman to stay with her parents temporarily.

"He assured her that they would have a child when he secured stable employment," the woman has said in the petition, adding he later secured a job.

"After great persuasion the respondent agreed to have a child as such the petitioner is around 44 years old and on the verge of menopause, doctor advised them to have a child by IVF process before the completing the age of 45/46 years. Both agreed and started treatment to undergo the IVF process," the plea said.

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Published 18 December 2023, 13:38 IST

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