"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well." -Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Earthquakes and Surrogacy

Nepal is hurt. The people of Nepal deserve efficient administration, swift as well as responsive relief measures and empathy. Gestures of world reaching out to Nepal are heartening, though geographical, structural and administrative challenges makes the relief measures deficient. Among the news of support pouring in from various nations, one news item caught my attention, an operation of airlifting to Israel a sizeable number infants born to surrogate mothers of Nepal. (See here, here, here for the news). Israeli military and an Insurance Company apparently were involved in the evacuation.

In the background of a shattered and traumatized nation, issues of surrogacy might sound relatively insignificant.  The images of parents stepping out of aircrafts with bundles of joy revealed another impact zone of earthquake and an intersection of law. 

Nepal, like India, has progressively become a preferred destination for surrogacy for obvious reasons. A casual net search on Nepal’s surrogacy will pop up ample amount of options catering to the need of affluent communities. The irony is that, there is yet to be a law regulating surrogacy, though it has become an accepted million-dollar industry (estimated $2 billion in India) in both the nations. India has tabled a Bill and Nepal is contemplating one.

Israel’s surrogacy law does not permit same sex couples to benefit from surrogacy services. India denying Visas to same sex couples makes Nepal the best choice for Israelis who look for inexpensive options. The quake has mooted a renewed discourse in Israel on the need to amend the surrogacy law to include same sex couples and single parents desirous of offspring within its net. The media report highlight how the natural disasters that occur in 'third world countries' pose risk to Israelis who are 'reluctant presence in such nations' but for the discriminatory practices back home. Hope on revision of law is also expressed in Times of Israel, titled Nepal quake gives birth to hopes of Israeli surrogacy reform.

It is intriguing to find how natural calamity and a remote aspect of law like surrogacy interact.  Nepal will be focusing on rebuilding in the coming days. Attention should equally be paid to build a sound legal infrastructure that is also the rightful due of its people.

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