Kathmandu-based ambassadors of five western nations including that of Australia have urged the Government of Nepal to provide exit visas to Nepal-born surrogate babies.
Surrogacy was recently rendered illegal in Nepal following a Supreme Court verdict. As such, approximately 400 surrogate babies and those in gestation are currently in a state of limbo.
Ambassadors of Australia, US, UK, Brazil and Israel have protested against the discontinuation of exit visas for surrogate babies. The commissioning parents cannot take their surrogate babies home (abroad) unless they have such visas.
The envoys met with former Acting Foreign Minister Khagraj Adhikari on October 4 and submitted a ‘Note Verbale’ which in diplomatic practice is an unofficial form of communication.
According to Annapurna Post, the envoys also called on the home ministry to request an unhindered exit of the commissioning parents as well as their babies. They argue that as the babies are already foreign citizens and that their parents have broken no law, they must not be stopped from leaving.
The Note Verbale maintains that the surrogate babies have already been given citizenship and passports of the concerned countries. The commissioning parents are apparently in direct supervision of their respective embassies.
Private hospitals in Kathmandu are still running surrogacy business by bringing women from the neighbouring Indian state of Bihar, a source within the law ministry told Post. The customers of some of these high profile private nursing homes in Kathmandu are charged approximately US $25,000 out of which only a small cut actually goes to the surrogate mothers.
Concerned activists look at this as a form of exploitation. They believe the industry only adds woes to the surrogate mothers who are already vulnerable group due to Nepal’s socio-economic situation.
The envoys were told by a law ministry official that the process of taking surrogate babies to foreign countries may amount to ‘human trafficking’, the report said today.