A recent story making headlines is utterly heartbreaking. A gay Israeli couple was forced to return an infant born via surrogacy after a DNA test proved neither man was biologically related to the child.
The surrogacy occurred in Nepal, and the genetic testing is a routine part of the Israeli process when a child is born to a foreign surrogate.
The couple had been raising their daughter for a month when the genetic tests uncovered that the baby was not biologically connected to either father. Those who have built their family through surrogacy cannot fathom the emotional despair this couple is experiencing.
According to Cec Busby of Gay News Network, the gay couple partnered with Tammuz International Surrogacy Agency in Nepal. Since the shocking discovery, the agency has initiated an investigation into the unforgiveable mishap, which the agency has described as a “rare human error.”
Tammuz International Surrogacy Agency said in a statement, “We understand the parents’ distress and the difficult situation in which they find themselves. The company is closely accompanying the parents through the process and has made a psychologist available to them to help them cope.” They continued, “Tammuz works with the most advanced personnel in the surrogacy field, has faultlessly helped hundreds of families realise their dreams of becoming parents, and will continue to help in the future with a full commitment to preventing such things from happening again.”
While this agency is offering up a typical public relations response, what has happened to this Israeli couple is not just casual “human error,” but quite frankly, a tragic mistake. In the midst of all this sorrow and shock, the couple is now being told by Tammuz International Surrogacy Agency to wait for the birth of another child, which may have been created using the men’s sperm. The couple remains in Nepal awaiting this birth, with uncertainty and, no doubt, indescribable stress looming over them.
Another DNA test must be performed to ensure that this next infant does have biological ties to one of the Israeli men.
Many may remember that the Supreme Court of Nepal mandated a foreign commercial surrogacy ban in August 2015. Due to this ban, concerns for this couple are even greater. Even if the genetic tests show that the baby belongs to them, they may encounter serious hurdles leaving Nepal with their baby.
Busby wrote, “Nepali immigration officials have since refused to issue exit visas for babies born through surrogacy, even when the process was started long before the ban.”
When the ban was issued, alarm bells sounded over whether intended parents who were in the midst of a surrogacy arrangement could leave Nepal with ease. Apparently, these concerns have now been validated.
According to another publication, Haaretz.com, it is estimated that surrogate births to Israeli intended parents will continue until April 2016. This likely holds true for other intended parents around the globe. While three-and-a-half months may not seem like a lot of time, it will feel like a lifetime to those intended parents, given the vagueness and insecurity surrounding the futures of their children.
With Nepal, Thailand and Tabasco, Mexico banning commercial surrogacy to foreigners, and India being so restrictive in its protocol, intended parents seeking surrogacy are now heading to Cambodia in greater numbers.