Sunday, 29 November 2015

A setback for surrogacy in India

sending my child to hostel, I will work full-time. If my husband and I work, we will be able to ensure that my child becomes a doctor and escapes this life of struggle,” she explains. “After all, we have no pension or government security in our old age. Who knows if our children will take care of us? It’s only prudent to save for the future. Motherhood and the ability to have children is a gift that nature has given to lucky women... I don’t think there is anything wrong in ‘gifting’ and ‘sharing’ this divine power and engaging in something that is mutually beneficially to all the parties involved,” she adds.

The arguments are not new. A group of surrogate mothers has moved the Supreme Court seeking a withdrawal of the November 4 circular banning foreign commissioning parents.

Grey area

Commercial surrogacy, largely an unregulated grey area, has been allowed in India since 2002. The Supreme Court (2008) called surrogacy a medical procedure legal in several countries including India. The surrogacy debate started with the Baby Manji Yamada case in which the commissioning parents divorced during the pregnancy and the commissioning mother refused to accept the baby. The court finally granted custody to the baby’s grandmother. In 2008, another case, on the citizenship of surrogate babies, led the Gujarat High Court to state that there is “extreme urgency to push through legislation” which addresses issues that arise out of surrogacy.

A draft ART Bill, pending in Parliament since 2010, is now expected to be taken up in the on-going winter session.

It is India’s first attempt at regulating the surrogacy industry which was earlier guided by the National Guidelines for Accreditation, Supervision and Regulation of ART Clinics in India, 2005, and subsequently amended in 2008, 2010 and 2013.

It is being seen as a setback for commissioning parents. After being married for over a decade, Dr. R, a British passport holder and a gastroenterologist of Indian-origin came back to India to “complete his family”.

“Adoption wasn’t an option,” says Mrs. L as she hugs her newborn child. Now a mother after a year of the surrogacy process was initiated at a Delhi clinic, she is very clear about why she and her husband came to India. “The country offers the best in terms of medical advancement, it’s reliable, cheap and world class. Besides, surrogate mothers are available here in India which isn’t the case in most parts of the world.”

Almost all surrogate mothers and commissioning parents this correspondent spoke to agree that foreign surrogacy should not be stopped. The association of medical practitioners providing fertility treatments are concerned that the government, instead of effecting better regulation, has imposed a blanket ban on a section of customers. Dr. Shivani Sachdev Gour, secretary, Indian Society for Third Party Assisted Reproduction (Instar) said, “We feel the new restrictions are too binding. You have to understand that surrogacy needs a more humane approach and more individual case-by-case attention. We cannot have a single blanket rule to govern the ethical and legal nuances of surrogacy.”

But women’s rights organisations say that “poor” women should not be exploited in the name of noble work. Dr. Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research said, “There are many issues besides sex selection and exploitation of the poor surrogate mothers. There are countries that do not allow surrogacy. What would the nationality of the child be when the intended parents are from that country? About 48 per cent couples opting for surrogacy are foreigners.”

Dr. Kumari notes that surrogates aren’t given their due. “Though the couple who wants to have a baby through a surrogate mother pays anything between Rs.2 lakh to Rs.5 lakh to agents, the woman who delivers the baby gets only Rs.75,000 to Rs.1 lakh,” she says.

Cheap medical facilities, advanced reproductive technological knowhow, coupled with poor socio-economic conditions and a lack of regulatory laws in India are what make India an attractive option.

In India, the business of providing “wombs on rent” is now valued at $500 million. The number of cases of surrogacy is believed to be increasing at a galloping rate,” says Dr.Kumari.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data says that approximately 2,000 babies are born every year through commercial surrogacy. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) figures claim that surrogacy is a $2.3 billion industry in India, because it is largely unregulated and cheap. Clinics function in tight cliques; unrelated centres like dental clinics sometimes assist fertility clinics, say experts.

ICMR says that professional surrogates need to “protected against exploitation”. A senior official said, “We hope to ensure accountability of the ART banks and ensure that the malpractices — private clinics advertise for surrogates and the money paid is arbitrary — is eliminated altogether. Also, [the] rights of the commissioning couples will be protected and the industry will be streamlined and brought under the preview of proper rules and regulations.”


Source: http://www.thehindu.com/


NZ couple in surrogacy baby mix-up

WELLINGTON - A New Zealand couple who travelled to Thailand to have a surrogate child had their embryos swapped in a mix-up at a fertility hospital and were given someone else's child.

The couple — referred to as Mr and Mrs N — say they love their adopted son "like one of their own" and have become legal guardians after a torturous inter-country adoption process. 

But Mr N said their attempts to find out what happened to their eggs have been met with silence — and intimidation — from the hospital. Mr N is calling on anyone who has been through fertility treatment... 

Mr N is calling on anyone who has been through fertility treatment five years ago in Thailand to check they haven’t been caught up in the mistake. 

The couple went for IVF treatment at the hospital in 2010, and in April 2011, what they thought was their child was born to a surrogate mother. When they went for a DNA test to satisfy New Zealand Immigration... 

The couple were then refused access to the child's birth records by the hospital, which feared negative publicity. They were forced to sign a settlement to get the necessary paperwork to bring the baby... 

Four years later, and with the child, who they have nicknamed "Nemo", finally obtaining New Zealand citizenship, the father finally feels secure that their child cannot be taken from them. 

It is only now they feel they can speak out about their ordeal, in the hope they can find Nemo's biological parents, and also discover if they have a child out there. "I do believe my flesh and blood... 

"I do believe my flesh and blood is out there somewhere. Three embryos don't just disappear." 

The father, who asked not to be named to protect his children’s privacy, said the emotional, physical and financial toll the case has taken on his family has been extreme. 

He recalls hearing that the DNA samples didn’t match. 

"I was like, 'what’s going on here?' Straight away I was on the phone to the lawyers ... they were trying to calm me down. There must have been a mistake." 

Still reeling from the shock, they completed another test — then tried two more DNA testing companies. All the results came back the same. 

He said the family were pressured into striking a deal with the hospital to be paid about 2.8 million baht, and waive any rights to prosecute or sue the hospital. 

"They basically screwed us," he said. "My wife was distraught, she was stuck in Thailand. We were told you can’t prosecute them criminally. They said it was best for our lawyers to step aside, and they... 

"There was a verbal threat made to my wife. They said: ‘I don’t want to revisit this again, and if anything ever comes out about this again, I know people who will make your lives very difficult.'" 

"There was a verbal threat made to my wife. They said: ‘I don’t want to revisit this again, and if anything ever comes out about this again, I know people who will make your lives very difficult.'" 

It is only now they feel they can speak out about their ordeal, in the hope they can find Nemo's biological parents, and also discover if they have a child out there. "I do believe my flesh and blood...

"I do believe my flesh and blood is out there somewhere. Three embryos don't just disappear."

The father, who asked not to be named to protect his children’s privacy, said the emotional, physical and financial toll the case has taken on his family has been extreme.

He recalls hearing that the DNA samples didn’t match.

"I was like, 'what’s going on here?' Straight away I was on the phone to the lawyers ... they were trying to calm me down. There must have been a mistake."

Still reeling from the shock, they completed another test — then tried two more DNA testing companies. All the results came back the same.

He said the family were pressured into striking a deal with the hospital to be paid about 2.8 million baht, and waive any rights to prosecute or sue the hospital.

"They basically screwed us," he said. "My wife was distraught, she was stuck in Thailand. We were told you can’t prosecute them criminally. They said it was best for our lawyers to step aside, and they...

"There was a verbal threat made to my wife. They said: ‘I don’t want to revisit this again, and if anything ever comes out about this again, I know people who will make your lives very difficult.'"

"There was a verbal threat made to my wife. They said: ‘I don’t want to revisit this again, and if anything ever comes out about this again, I know people who will make your lives very difficult.'"

It is only now they feel they can speak out about their ordeal, in the hope they can find Nemo's biological parents, and also discover if they have a child out there. "I do believe my flesh and blood...

"I do believe my flesh and blood is out there somewhere. Three embryos don't just disappear."

The father, who asked not to be named to protect his children’s privacy, said the emotional, physical and financial toll the case has taken on his family has been extreme.

He recalls hearing that the DNA samples didn’t match.

"I was like, 'what’s going on here?' Straight away I was on the phone to the lawyers ... they were trying to calm me down. There must have been a mistake."

Still reeling from the shock, they completed another test — then tried two more DNA testing companies. All the results came back the same.

He said the family were pressured into striking a deal with the hospital to be paid about 2.8 million baht, and waive any rights to prosecute or sue the hospital.

"They basically screwed us," he said. "My wife was distraught, she was stuck in Thailand. We were told you can’t prosecute them criminally. They said it was best for our lawyers to step aside, and they...

"There was a verbal threat made to my wife. They said: ‘I don’t want to revisit this again, and if anything ever comes out about this again, I know people who will make your lives very difficult.'"

"There was a verbal threat made to my wife. They said: ‘I don’t want to revisit this again, and if anything ever comes out about this again, I know people who will make your lives very difficult.'" 
The doctor said they had been unable to contact a couple who had an embryo transfer on the same day as their surrogate, and added "it might not be wise to pursue DNA testing of the couple".

After exhausting all further legal avenues to find out what happened, the father said they had decided to speak out to warn other families who have been through the clinic.

"Any child that went through the clinic since August 2010 could potentially have their eggs mixed up. It could be a sequential mix-up. I would encourage every parent to get a DNA test.

"They can contact us and we will provide a DNA test. When this gets out, every family that's been to this clinic since 2010 is going to ask: ‘Is this my child?'"

New Zealand's Ministry of Social Development director of operational risk international casework Paula Attrill said the case highlighted the "considerable risks" of international surrogacy. "This is a distressing set of circumstances for this little boy and his parents. Throughout, the parents have focused on the welfare and best interests of their little boy." 



Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Judge forces mom to give her baby to homosexual couple: the latest case of surrogacy’s folly



LONDON, November 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A convoluted custody dispute over an artificially conceived child has left the mother bereft and homosexual and Christian activists at loggerheads.
The case of "H versus S" ended when the 44-year-old mother, "S," breastfed her 15-month old child for the last time in the courthouse cafeteria and handed him over to the waiting sperm donor dad, "H," and his homosexual partner.
Both Romanian immigrants, H and S were also longtime friends who had informally agreed to conceive a child artificially together using a home insemination kit. But the relationship broke down, the mother denied the father and his lover parenting rights, and the courts took over.
The judge who ruled on the appeal in the homosexual couple's favor, Alison Russell, has used the case to call for legislation, as in the United States, forcing those involved in surrogacy arrangements to agree to formal legal contracts.
"The UK however does not have such an approach in place, meaning that … if a surrogate mother was to change her mind the only recourse for the other parties involved would be to head to the courts," stated the judge in her ruling.
"Considering how emotionally draining and time-consuming a legal battle of this nature can prove to be, this case perhaps indicates that the time is now right for the current legislation in this area to be reviewed."
But Paul Tully of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children told LifeSiteNews that the case exposes the problems with the "commodification of life and children" inherent in in vitro fertilization and other methods of conception.
His organization has opposed artificial approaches to conception not only because of commodification in general, but because individual unborn babies deemed surplus to parental needs are sacrificed.
As well, "in this case and in many cases there is the issue of adoption by same-sex couples," Tully said. "We believe what is best for the child's welfare is to be brought up by his or her biological mother and father."
The parents had agreed to share custody, but now the mother claims that having the child was her idea and her old friend from Romania was simply a sperm donor with visiting rights because she thought it a good idea her child have a father figure. "I was having this baby for myself," she told the Daily Mail last week, after a publication ban was finally lifted on the dispute. The father, H, told the court the idea for a baby came from him and his lover, who approached S to be the surrogate mother.
But there is no doubt from the plentiful e-mail messages between the litigants that the same-sex couple were acting like concerned parents even before the child was born, and the judge ultimately not only preferred their version of events to the mother's, but also found their attitude more child-centered, while hers was slanted by "homophobia." So despite the hardship to the child and the heartache to her, the same-sex couple were awarded custody.
Tully carefully avoids taking sides in the dispute itself but observes, "The mother was deeply misguided and ill-advised to undertake the role of being a surrogate mother. But whatever bad decisions she made, one can certainly feel for her now."
Surrogacy conflicts with natural parental affections, said Tully, such that some surrogate mothers abort the children they have contracted to bear if the contracting couple back out because, for example, the child has disabilities. "Surrogacy can encourage a hardened attitude."
Tully's main concern about the case is that it has triggered a call for contract legislation. Currently, in great Britain, surrogate mothers cannot charge for bearing the children of others, though they can be paid for their expenses. Legislation, Tully warns, could pave the way for the commercialization of surrogacy and for "turning children into a manufactured product."

Source:  https://www.lifesitenews.com

Report calls for urgent legal reform for surrogacy

Far fewer Britons seek surrogacy overseas than previously thought
A new report, published by Surrogacy UK, claims to dispel many of the myths concerning international surrogacy and brings into focus the practice of surrogacy in the UK. The report, endorsed by Mary Warnock, Professor Margot Brazier and Professor Susan Golombok. calls for reform of surrogacy law.

According to the report – Surrogacy in the UK: Myth busting and reform – written by Dr Kirsty Horsey of University of Kent, far fewer Britons seek surrogacy overseas than had been previously thought, so dispelling the myth that international surrogacy has become commonplace for intended parents from the UK.

The report also shows that there is widespread rejection of any move towards commercialisation of surrogacy. The overwhelming majority of surrogacy in the UK is undertaken by women on an altruistic basis with most UK surrogates receiving less than £15,000 for out-of-pocket expenses incurred, demonstrating that surrogacy is a relationship and not a transaction.

Also highlighted by the report is the overwhelming support (75% of survey respondents) for legal reform in order better to represent how UK surrogacy works in practice. The report shows that both surrogates and intended parents want to remove the legal uncertainty over parenthood at the point of birth. At the moment legal parenthood rests with the surrogate at birth. The intended parents must apply after birth for a parental order, which can take several months. In the meantime they have no legal rights and the child is left in legal limbo. The report finds that 69% of surrogates are opposed to being able to change their mind about giving a baby back to its intended parents. Only 5% believe that a surrogate should be able to change her mind at any point.

Surrogacy UK has set up a working group on surrogacy reform consisting of: Natalie Smith, trustee, Surrogacy UK; Sarah Jones, chairperson, Surrogacy UK; Dr Kirsty Horsey, senior lecturer, Kent Law School; Louisa Ghevaert, partner, Michelmores LLP; and Sarah Norcross, director, Progress Educational Trust.

Recommendations for reform include:
  • The principle of altruistic surrogacy, which operates in the UK must be protected to reflect that surrogacy is a relationship, not a transaction.
  • Parental orders should be pre-authorised so that legal parenthood is conferred on intended parents at birth.
  • Intended parents should register the birth.
  • Parental orders should be available to single people who use surrogacy.
  • Parental orders should be available to IPs where neither partner has used their own gametes ('double donation').
  • The time limit for applying for a parental order should be removed.
  • Parental order/surrogacy birth data should be centrally and transparently collected and published annually.
  • IVF surrogacy cycles and births should be accurately recorded by fertility clinics/ Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
  • NHS funding should be made available for IVF surrogacy in line with NICE guidelines.
  • The rules on surrogacy-related advertising and the criminalisation of this should be reviewed in the context of non-profit organisations.
The following actions for government are recommended:
  • The Department of Health, in consultation with the surrogacy community, should draft and publish a 'legal pathway' document for IPs and surrogates.
  • The Department of Health should produce guidance for professionals in the field, written in consultation with the surrogacy community for midwives and hospitals, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) and clinics.
  • Surrogacy should be included in schools' sex and relationships education (SRE) classroom curriculum (from primary) – linked to awareness of (in)fertility, family options for same sex partners etc.
Source:  http://www.familylawweek.co.uk

When it comes to IVF, reproductive policing can improve reproductive rights

It is hardly news when women’s bodies, and reproductive rights, are policed by the state, by the courts, by our culture and, sometimes, by our own partners. But what does it mean when a woman seemingly agrees to some iteration of this kind of limitation – and then changes her mind?
That was the question put before a San Francisco judge who ruled this week that there are no take-backs.
Judge Anne-Christine Massullo was asked to consider the case of Dr Mimi Lee and Stephen Findley, who created, froze and stored embryos after Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer but before she began treatment. In the course of their efforts to preserve their ability to have a child together, they both signed off on the consent form presented to them by their fertility clinic, in which they stated that they had mutually agreed to have any remaining embryos destroyed should the two no longer be married.
The couple separated in 2013 and divorced in 2015, and they went to court over Lee’s desire to keep the embryos herself and use them to attempt a pregnancy.
In an 83-page decision, Massulo wrote: “It is a disturbing consequence of modern biological technology that the fate of nascent human life, which the embryos in this case represent, must be determined in a court by reference to cold legal principles.” But it is perhaps even more disturbing to argue the opposite – that the embryos Lee and Findley created are, as Massullo implies, life just casually discarded because of the flippancy of the law.
This seeming form of reproductive policing – making women and men sign away their rights to their own genetic material – is actually a safeguard to ensure that women continue to be guaranteed basic reproductive rights and, indeed, rights to their own bodies and genetic material). Paradoxically, letting someone lay claim to embryos that they have legally consented to discard in the event of divorce is just one small step from stopping someone from being able to freely choose what exactly happens with and to their own bodies and healthcare decisions.
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Earlier this year, actress Sofia Vergara faced a similar legal battle, when a judge ruled that the Modern Family star’s ex-fiance, Nick Loeb, had a right to sue Vergara for “custody” over their unused, frozen embryos that were created when the two were still a couple.
At the time of the Vergara ruling, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement: “Every woman should be able to decide whether and how to have children, without coercion, shame, or judgment.” She added that litigation like that faced by Vergara constituted a form of “bullying” that attempted “to force someone to have children against her will ... These are deeply personal decisions for women, and they should be respected.”
And indeed, it seems to follow that Findley’s decision to not have a child with Lee should garner the same respect as Vergara’s decision to not have a child with Loeb. The alternative could be significant limitations on both women’s reproductive rights and on the ability of women and men to access reproductive assistance.
Too often, the questions surrounding the outcomes for unused frozen embryos feed directly into the debate about fetalpersonhood” – the belief that legal rights should be extended to fertilized eggs and embryos. In recent years, many rightwing lawmakers have introduced legislation that would grant rights to embryos, which, though designed to criminalize abortion, would also make IVF treatment illegal as a result, since the process often creates embryos that would never be transferred or given the opportunity to continue their “life” at it were.
So, while Lee pleaded with the judge to let her have what she called “her babies”, had the judge ruled in her favor, those who oppose the procedure entirely would have had legal ammunition to challenge it, and women’s reproductive rights more broadly, in court.
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Though Lee claimed in court not to have understood the legal papers she signed before undergoing IVF which forced the judge to rule in her ex-husband’s favor, as someone who’s undergone IVF, I find that a bit hard to believe. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology crafted a “declaration of intent” years ago that is made available to all of its member practices nationwide; few reputable practices would ever allow patients to undergo IVF without a similarly informed consent process.
Patients sign, in the presence of a notary, documents which explain what they would like to happen to any unused embryos under numerous circumstances, ranging from death to divorce to non-payment of frozen embryo storage fees.
The declaration of intent makes clear that the options for patients regarding unused embryos are “discarding the cryopreserved embryo(s)”, “donating the cryopreserved embryo(s) for approved research studies”, “donating the cryopreserved embryos to another couple in order to attempt pregnancy”, or “use by one partner with the contemporaneous permission of the other for that use”.
Furthermore, the declaration of intent is explicit in its statement that embryos “cannot be used to produce pregnancy against the wishes of the partner” – the circumstances in which Lee and Findley found themselves.
If you want children, being able to have them is a tremendous gift. If you want children and, for any reason, are unable to do so, the effect can be devastating, heart-breaking, agonizing, maddening. And so while, as someone who has struggled with infertility in my own right, I empathize with Lee’s desire to build a family on her own terms, I am relieved the judge on her case ruled how she did. To have allowed Lee to rescind her consent for the disposal of her embryos could have meant an all-out elimination of the reproductive rights and options of others.

Source:  http://www.theguardian.com

Monday, 16 November 2015

Gov’t to Crack Down on Surrogacy Clinics


Fleeing strict new laws at home, surrogacy companies are moving their “wombs for rent” services from Thailand to Cambodia, causing some analysts to raise concerns that would-be parents could be swindled by the little-regulated industry.

Surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology are still in a legal gray area, as they are not explicitly protected or outlawed by Cambodian law. But this legal free-for-all may not last long. Government officials yesterday told Khmer Times that they plan to classify surrogacy as a form of human trafficking.

If the government imposes new regulations, they could prevent children born to surrogate mothers from leaving the country, meaning that would-be parents could find themselves unable to bring their newborn home.

Shift from Thailand

Despite the risks, surrogacy is booming in Cambodia. Sixteen surrogacy clinics have opened in the country since the Thai government imposed strict new anti-surrogacy laws early this year. Demand from foreign couples, especially Chinese and Australian ones, is high. With other popular surrogacy destinations like Nepal and India closing their borders, Cambodia has become one of the few nations in the region open to couples seeking to have a child through surrogacy.

Surrogacy clinics, long tolerated by the Thai government, were kicked out after a pair of high-profile scandals last year. The first occurred when an Australian biological father left behind a baby born with Down’s Syndrome, while taking the boy’s healthy twin sister home to Australia.

The “Baby Gammy” case, as it came to be known, prompted further investigation into Thailand’s surrogacy industry, uncovering more sordid details. Investigators found that a Japanese businessman had fathered 16 children through different Thai surrogates, four of whom he took to Cambodia, in what local media described as a possible attempt to begin a child-trafficking ring.

In the wake of the scandals, the Thai government imposed a law banning foreign couples from seeking surrogacy in the country. Employees at companies there that provide surrogacy for profit are now faced with the threat of a 10-year prison sentence.

Many companies in Thailand’s lucrative surrogacy business have simply moved across the border into Cambodia. Last November, the Cambodian government issued a warning saying that surrogacy was illegal, but as of yet there are no formal laws banning it. A source who asked to remain confidential said that at least 20 couples from Australia alone have contracted with surrogacy companies in Cambodia.

Cambodia used to lack the high-tech equipment necessary for artificial fertilization, but the country now has modern in-vitro fertilization (IVF) equipment at several hospitals and clinics. That, combined with a lax legal system and cheap prices, draws couples to the Kingdom. Surrogacy services start at around $40,000 in Cambodia, compared to $120,000 in the United States.

“Other Asian nations have closed their borders, and the prices being offered [in Cambodia] are attractive,” said Sam Everingham, director of the Australian company Families through Surrogacy. Unscrupulous surrogacy companies can add to the appeal of Cambodia as a surrogacy destination, advertising it as a safe place to have a child while neglecting to mention the legal perils.

On its website the company Sensible Surrogacy advertises Cambodia as a perfect alternative to more expensive Western surrogacy programs, saying “Many couples are now finding that surrogacy in Cambodia is the most affordable and secure option to start their new families.”

Mr. Everingham said it is common for companies to downplay the risks. “Many of the clinics have a business model where they take advantage of being able to take clients to a country with a legal loophole,” he said, “until it’s no longer there, and then they have to move somewhere else.”

Cambodian surrogacy has in fact become so popular that the Australian tourism website, smarttraveller.gov.au, issued a warning about the possible legal pitfalls of surrogacy in the Kingdom. “Australians are advised not to visit Cambodia for the purpose of engaging in commercial surrogacy arrangements,” the site warns.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian government is scrambling to create new laws to stop the fast-growing surrogacy industry before it expands. Touch Channy, spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs, said that government ministries will discuss how to manage the growing numbers of surrogacy clinics. “The ministries need to work together to ensure that this case doesn’t happen in Cambodia,” he said.


Though surrogacy sites advertise Cambodia as a safe option, Mr. Everingham argues that it is anything but. “It’s highly precarious based on what we’ve seen occurring in countries that have similar laws,” he said. “Thailand, India, and Nepal have all closed their borders [to people seeking surrogacy]. It’s highly likely that Cambodia will do the same.”

New technology beating IVF failure struggles An incipient hope for those who dream to have children

DR. SAMER TARAKJI
Despite numerous developments in IVF, the implantation rate of the replaced embryos remains low, some infertile patients undergo many IVF cycles and produce embryos, but the embryos consistently fail to implant for unexplained reasons. This is called IVF failure. It is a very frustrating problem for married couples who can’t have children. The chances of successfully conceiving through IVF decline with age, but it remained more successful than natural reproduction that achieved no pregnancy.
If there is an embryo transfer done, the reason that IVF fails is because of embryo implantation failure. However, we do not know whether the failure to implant was due to a problem with the embryos or a problem with the uterus. Most fertility specialists believe that in more than 95% of IVF failures it is due to arrest of the embryos
With the advancements in technology, the field of the Laser Assisted Hatching (AH) a technology which helps embryos to attach to the womb of the woman - has emerged as an art that gives best possible results. It has boosted the hopes of many infertile couples who have repeatedly failed by using traditional IVF methods.
Especially women older than 37 years of age, have a tendency to produce eggs with a harder egg coat (zona pellucida) than younger women. The same applies for women treated with higher doses of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
When Assisted Hatching is performed using a laser it does not have to be removed from its culture dish and placed in a separate “hatching plate”. The laser is attached directly to the microscope as an objective. The embryo is positioned for AH and the laser is applied 2 or 3 times until a hole is made through the shell. There is no exposure to chemicals, and the time the embryo spends outside the incubator is significantly less than when AH is performed using the Acid-Method.
Recent researches showed that women, who have undergone repeated IVF treatments without results, double their chances of a pregnancy by use of assisted laser hatching

Eventually, there are no consequences for this method. So in other words, it’s the safest method for both the embryo and the mother. Infertile couples or women who experienced frequent IVF failures should not bear any worries because their dream of having children will come true, moreover, researchers are still working on developing further advanced techniques and solutions.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Bill 20: IVF no longer covered under medicare, private-clinic fees soon to be regulated

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette has agreed to suspend the enforcement of Bill 20's penalties until Jan. 1, 2018, as long as both general practitioners and specialists start taking steps to improve their availability toward patients. JACQUES BOISSINOT / THE CANADIAN PRESS

In vitro fertilization will be no longer be covered under medicare in Quebec and private clinics will soon be able to charge patients certain fees after the National Assembly adopted Bill 20 on Tuesday following stiff opposition.

The legislation will also require that family doctors make themselves available to see their patients at least 80 per cent of the time or be penalized 15 per cent of their income. Similar rules will be applied to medical specialists as well.

However, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette has agreed to suspend the enforcement of penalties until Jan. 1, 2018, as long as both general practitioners and specialists start taking steps to improve their availability toward patients.

“Voila, a responsible decision by the Liberal government,” Barrette tweeted shortly after Bill 20’s adoption.

But Parti Québécois leader Pierre Karl Péladeau denounced Barrette’s reform as an unprecedented “step backward in terms of access to health care.”

And Amir Khadir, health critic for the Québec Solidaire opposition party, warned that the legislation will have “grave consequences for patients.”

A total of 63 MNAs voted in favour of the legislation and 48 voted against it, including Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault. The bill passed following 150 hours of often acrimonious debate as well as public hearings.

Bill 20 is the second phase of Barrette’s major health-care reforms. The first phase was Bill 10, which took effect on April 1 and abolished regional health agencies, along with the positions of 1,300 managers, to save at least $220 million a year in administrative expenses.

federations assailed Barrette’s plans to dock doctors’ pay as draconian, but struck agreements with him to hold off on the penalties for the next two years.

On Tuesday, the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec criticized the legislation as “useless and counter-productive.”

“For general practitioners, Bill 20 will always be synonymous with acrimony and unfortunate improvisation,” said FMOQ president Louis Godin.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec raised doubts as to whether Barrette’s reform will improve access to care. The problem, said FMSQ president Diane Francoeur, is not a lack of willingness by specialists to see patients, but that doctors have “less access to outpatient clinics, less time in operating rooms (and) fewer beds in which to hospitalize their patients.”

Delisting IVF under medicare takes effect immediately, but other measures will occur in the coming months.

The legislation will give the health minister the power to regulate ancillary fees that are charged in private clinics.


What that means is that the government will hire an independent accounting firm to determine the true cost of an itemized list of medications, anesthetic agents and bandages that doctors can levy patients in private practice. Once approved by the government, the list will come into force as a regulation by ministerial decree.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

New drug for safer IVF treatment


There is good news for childless couples opting for IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation).

Originally called 'test-tube' baby technique, IVF was developed more than 30 years ago to treat women with damaged fallopian tubes which take the sperms from the male to the womens eggs. But at times the treatment could cause severe side effects. The hormone kisspeptin could be a safer and more effective way to harvest eggs during IVF treatment, according to a new study conducted by Researchers from Imperial College London. During conventional IVF treatment, doctors inject patients with the hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which helps ovaries to mature eggs that are later harvested and mixed with sperm in a test-tube ('in vitro') to create the embryo. A potential side effect during this step of IVF is ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS) - a potentially life-threatening condition. Severe OHSS occurs in up to 2% of all patients, but women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at much higher risk, with up to 25 per cent of such patients suffering severe OHSS. Researchers from Imperial College London, working with clinicians from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, found that using kisspeptin as an alternative hormone to hCG - to mature and harvest eggs did not lead to OHSS, even in women at high risk of developing the condition. Of the 60 women at high risk of OHSS given kisspeptin at different doses during the study, no women developed moderate, severe or critical OHSS during their pregnancy. The average live birth rate was 45% across all doses, rising to 62% for women given the best performing dose of kisspeptin. Ali Abbara, the lead author of the study, says: "We have shown that using kisspeptin in place of conventional drugs used during IVF treatment safely matures eggs, even in women at high risk of OHSS". "Interestingly, our results also suggest that using the best performing dose of kisspeptin resulted in pregnancy rates almost twice those reported for this age group using conventional stimuli of egg maturation. Kisspeptin appears to be a promising therapy and further studies are now needed to directly compare kisspeptin with currently available IVF treatments," the scientist added.UNI XC SB 1033

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Mumbai Court Lifts Ban on Surrogacy for Foreigners – In Some Cases

A court in Mumbai has temporarily lifted a government prohibition on foreign couples’ using Indian surrogate mothers, clearing the way for two fertility clinics in the city to keep serving clients from abroad, two lawyers involved in the case said.

Last week, the Indian Council of Medical Research, instructed clinics not to allow foreigners to employ Indian women as surrogates – part of a government effort to impose tighter limits on a growing industry that has raised concerns about exploitation of women.

Tuesday’s order by the Bombay High Court opens the door for other clinics to seek similar relief, lawyers said.

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Three fertility doctors had asked the court to delay the council”s ban so that couples that had begun the administrative and medical procedures necessary to have a child with a surrogate could complete the process at their clinics, said Amit Jajoo, a lawyer who represented them.

One of the physicians, Kaushal Kadam, medical director at the Corion Fertility Clinic in Mumbai, said “This is just an interim relief” to allow the clinic to complete the processes already started and “avoid medical and commercial complications.”

“A more holistic legislation addressing this cutting edge field is the need of the hour,” said Dr. Kadam adding that she had about 20 couples affected by the ban.

“The court felt that the government’s action of banning surrogacy straight away is inappropriate because the people would be stuck midway,” said Vikrant Sabne, a lawyer acting on behalf of Surrogacy India, the other clinic in the case. “The judge said it was not about money invested, it was about emotions,” he said.

Dr. Sudhir Ajja, another of the physicians in the case and a clinician at Surrogacy India, said the court had asked for a guarantee that they would not take any new patients unless the ban is fully lifted.

“We will be in compliance,” Dr. Ajja, who estimated he had about 20 commissioning couples, said.

Mr. Sabne said the court gave the government until Dec. 15 to respond to its ruling. A spokesman for the medical council couldn’t be reached by phone after office hours on Tuesday. An email seeking comment wasn’t immediately answered.

In a letter dated Sept. 28, the council told clinics “not to entertain any foreigners for availing surrogacy services in India.” The notice did not say whether those who had already begun the lengthy process of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer could continue, leading to confusion among prospective parents.

Separately, the Indian Supreme Court is currently hearing what is known in India as a public-interest litigation, which allows people to file lawsuits on issues of national concern, asking it to ban commercial surrogacy, saying that women who serve as surrogates are often ill-informed and taken advantage of.

The government last week said in a filing with the Supreme Court that it “does not support commercial surrogacy” and that “adequate provisions will be made in the enactment to prohibit and penalize commercial surrogacy services.”

In September, the Ministry of Health released draft legislation that would prohibit foreigners, except for those with family origins in India, from employing Indian surrogates. The proposed law is currently out for public consultation.

Nayana Patel, medical director at the Akanksha Infertility Clinic in Anand in the western state of Gujarat who has more than 150 foreign patients who are currently in the surrogacy process, said the Mumbai court’s order was “a good move.”

“It’s quite positive because so many people are stranded and confused right now about what to do,” Dr. Patel said.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

New drug provides safer alternative to conventional IVF treatment

The hormone kisspeptin could be a safer and more effective way for harvesting eggs during IVF treatment, according to a new study presented today at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Edinburgh
The hormone kisspeptin could be a safer and more effective way for harvesting eggs during IVF treatment, according to a new study presented today at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Edinburgh.

During conventional IVF treatment, doctors inject patients with the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which helps ovaries mature eggs that are later harvested to mix with sperm to make an embryo. A potential side effect during this step of IVF is ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS) - a potentially life-threatening condition.

Severe OHSS occurs in up to 2% of all patients, but women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at much higher risk, with up to a quarter of such patients suffering severe OHSS.

In this study, researchers from Imperial College London, working with clinicians from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, researchers from Imperial College London found that using kisspeptin as an alternative hormone to hCG - to mature and harvest eggs did not lead to OHSS, even in women at high risk of developing the condition.
rforming dose of kisspeptin resulted in pregnancy rates almost twice those reported for this age group using conventional stimuli of egg maturation. Kisspeptin appears to be a promising therapy and further studies are now needed to directly compare kisspeptin with currently available IVF trea
Sixty women at high risk of OHSS were given kisspeptin at different doses. 36 hours later, their eggs were harvested, fertilised and one or two resulting embryos were implanted.

No women developed moderate, severe or critical OHSS during their pregnancy. The average live birth rate was 45% across all doses, rising to 62% for women given the best performing dose of kisspeptin. However, larger clinical studies are needed to confirm whether using kisspeptin results in higher live birth rates than hCG.

"IVF is an effective therapy for couples affected by infertility, but it can result in OHSS, which is a potentially life-threatening side effect", said lead author of the study Ali Abbara. "We have shown that using kisspeptin in place of conventional drugs used during IVF treatment safely matures eggs, even in women at high risk of OHSS".


"Interestingly, our results also suggest that using the best pe tments".

Shah Rukh Khan opens up about surrogacy and the need to regulate the procedure

Shah Rukh Khan, who just turned 50 yesterday, had a few things to say on the recent controversy webbed around commercial surrogacy and consideration of its ban in India.

According to a leading entertainment portal, King Khan admitted his ignorance towards recent happenings due to his busy birthday schedule, when asked to comment on the controversial surrogacy bill and the developments in it. However, wise as always, the actor did make a very important point citing that the need to regulate the procedure of surrogacy in India was imperative. He said, “It should be regulated. When I was having my surrogate baby, I did a lot of study on it and realised that a lot of countries have regulated the procedure. I know the pleasure of having children and if there is any manner in which parents who are bereft of this joy are able to enjoy it, I am all for it.”
The saying that age making oneself wiser sure fits perfectly in SRK’s case. The 50 year old actor may not look old but he definitely sparks wisdom. Do you agree with us? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Monday, 2 November 2015

SOME YOGA A DAY TO HELP IN THE FAMILY WAY

Some yoga a day to help in the family way
Yoga should be prescribed to women having fertility treatment to help boost their chance of conception, according to experts. A study revealed doing yoga for 45 minutes a week for six weeks cut anxiety levels by 20 per cent. Being relaxed has previously been found to improve the likelihood of conceiving. Based on results found by researchers at the Fertility Centres of Illinois, experts said that yoga could also help reduce the number of couples quitting IVF because of the stress. Dr Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, who led the study at the Fertility Centres of Illinois, described the findings as "exciting".


She added, "We have shown a decrease in anxiety of patients that utilised the yoga program. This is particularly exciting given that others have shown a statistical increase in anxiety for infertility patients undergoing infertility treatment. In the US, cost remains a top reason couples stop infertility treatment, but close behind remains emotional distress. We believe yoga can help to alleviate this stress and allow couples to stay in treatment."


Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental well being. The main components of yoga are postures and breathing. The practice originated in India around 5,000 years ago. Fertility expert Dr Stuart Lavery, from the Department of Reproductive Medicine at London's Hammersmith Hospital, described the findings as "promising". He added, "Anything that helps patients cope during a difficult and stressful time can only be good."