Monthly Archives: April 2010

Indian IVF bill may stop gay couple surrogacy

In the name of the fathers ... John Allen-Drury, left, and his partner, Darren, nurse their son, Noah, who was born in India using a surrogate mother. Photo: Graham Crouch

If the parents of newborn Noah Allen-Drury are lucky, their son will sleep through the noise as their flight from India lands in Sydney this morning.

Noah’s gay parents, however, are aware of legal turbulence that could prohibit the surrogacy arrangements that fulfilled their wish for a child.

A growing number of male couples from Australia and other Western countries are hiring surrogates in India to bear children, but that might no longer be possible if a draft bill to regulate IVF in India becomes law.

R.S. Sharma, the secretary of the committee writing a bill to govern assisted reproductive technology (ART), told the Herald that unless gay and lesbian relationships are legalised in India, gay couples would be excluded from hiring surrogates.

Delhi’s High Court recently overturned a 150-year-old section of the country’s penal code that outlawed ”carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.

However, gay activists warn this ruling, which in effect decriminalised sodomy, does not legalise gay relationships, leaving the status of such relationships unclear.

“If our government does not permit gay relationships, then it certainly will not be permitted for foreign gay couples to come to this country and have a [surrogacy] agreement,” said Dr Sharma, who is the deputy director-general of the reproductive health and nutrition division at the India Council of Medical Research.

John and Darren Allen-Drury, who live in the Blue Mountains, raced to India earlier this month when their surrogate mother entered labour. She gave birth to Noah on April 8. John Allen-Drury said changes to India’s laws would be a great disappointment, if passed.

”It would prevent a lot of same-sex couples from coming here,” he said.

Although some gay couples sought surrogate mothers in the United States and Thailand, ”India really is the closest country to Australia that offers affordable surrogacy,” he said.

The draft bill could make it difficult for all Australian couples to use Indian surrogates.

One stumbling block would be a requirement that foreign countries guarantee they will accept the surrogate child as a citizen – before a surrogacy could begin.

Dr Sharma said foreign couples would have to obtain a document from their embassy or foreign ministry pledging the surrogate child citizenship of their country. “Only then will they be entitled to sign an agreement with a surrogate or an ART clinic,” he said.

Parents using a surrogate would also be obliged to accept the baby even if it was born with abnormalities.

”Under the Australian Citizenship Act, there are no guarantees,” a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said on Friday. ”What you can infer from this is that while it’s not illegal, we certainly wouldn’t be encouraging it by giving a rubber stamp to anyone who entered into such an agreement.”

Mr Allen-Drury said surrogacy in the US cost $200,000 or more. In India the arrangements could be made for $40,000 to $50,000. Thailand’s laws were changed last year to stop surrogacies for same-sex couples, although it remains legal for single males.

Mr Allen-Drury said a requirement for the Australian government to guarantee citizenship before a surrogacy could begin was impractical. ”That would just close the door,” he said.

Trevor Elwell and his partner, Peter West, have twin girls, Evelyn and Gaia, from a surrogate mother in Mumbai. Mr Elwell predicted parliamentary inertia meant the Indian laws were months or years off. But he was concerned that interim guidelines could be adopted and, in effect, exclude same-sex couples.

Mr Elwell said the citizenship proposal could pose an insurmountable hurdle.

”If you want to do that process earlier and confirm citizenship, you’re going to have to have a government process upfront,” he said.

The demand for a guarantee of citizenship meant the Australian government would have to grant it on the basis of a contract it did not recognise.

”It is a bit of a tangle, so it might affect heterosexual couples in the long run,” Mr Elwell said.

Since the publicity after they got their twins, Mr Elwell and Mr West say they have helped more than 100 couples – some gay, some straight – arrange a surrogate mother in India.

”The tip of the iceberg may have been us.”

 Source: The Sydney Morning Herald (26 April, 2010)

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Israel: Wishing You A Happy Independence Day

I was pleasantly surprised when I received this appended email from Orna Sagiv, the Consul General of Israel for India. The Israelis did not have to do this for our girl-children! Think about it….And please watch the movie clip as well.
India, the world’s biggest democracy, and Israel, one of the tiniest democracies, surprisingly have much in common.  Both are the cradles to the world’s most dominant religions. Thus, for over 5000 years they have sprouted the foundations of human culture, as we know it today. Both these countries have many sites, which are considered the holiest to the largest number of followers all over the globe. Both countries received their independence from the British in the late 40s and both have ever since been trying to recuperate from the aftermath of geographic division based on religion. We have many cultural and social similarities. We both built our nations from scratch; we value education and hard work. We are quick to adapt to a new methodologies and we thirst for success and recognition.India and Israel are among the most significant democracies of the modern world. People are encouraged to make choices and more importantly be heard.
Given India’s strong scientific and technological base, Israel is keen on strengthening professional medical ties with India.
If we have to emulate a nation in education, nation-building, defence, education, research, science, technology & National-pride, it should be only Israel.
We are natural allies…will get closer as these turbulent & violent years pass by! Whether Israelis & Indians want it or not, I see a stronger partnership between these vibrant democracies in the years to come.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Artificial hip destroyed his sex life

Artificial hips made in Ireland squeak and are defective, say 750 lawsuits against the manufacturers Stryker, the medical device and implants manufacturer. The artificial hips in question have now been recalled.

Most complaints allege that the hips squeak and one plaintiff says it destroyed his sex life. Another says he sounds like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz and has put his squeaky hip on You Tube and attracted over 50,000 viewers.

Stryker faces a barrage of complaints that replacement hips made in its Irish facility in Cork caused pain and made embarrassing squeaking noises. One patient complained that the problem interrupted sex with his wife as she started laughing as his hip squeaked.

Patients have stated that reported that while the noise was amusing at first it quickly became upsetting.

Frances Jones had a Stryker implant to replace her left hip in October 2007. Jones is seeking $2.5m (€1.85m) in damages plus costs in Illinois according to the Irish Sunday Times, Stryker Ireland and its parent company’s Stryker Orthopedics and Stryker Corporation are named in the suit.

Jones claims her artificial hip had “excessive levels of manufacturing residuals” that made it squeak.

Among those who have had to have their artificial Stryker hip replaced is Mike Mueller, head of an online real estate business.

Mueller put a video of his squeaky Stryker hip on YouTube and has attracted almost 50,000 views.

“They used to call me the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz as they could hear me creaking as I came down the corridor,” he said.

“I had the hip fitted in April 2007 and it started squeaking four months later,” he said. “Eventually I was in so much pain I had to have it replaced. I am worried that if I need a third hip replacement it will so much harder to fit and I might be confined to a wheelchair.”

Stryker Ireland’s accounts for 2008 showed the company employed 524 people here.

Doug Kreis, a personal injury lawyer in Florida, said the claims were related to “product liability.”

“The injuries claimed by the patients . . . relate to an alleged mechanism by which the natural lubricant layer between the ceramic ball and liner is compromised.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized