Bioethics News

Gay Israeli couple brings home wrong baby from Nepal

In a stark reminder of the hazards of IVF and surrogacy, a gay Israeli couple had an unpleasant surprise earlier this month about a baby daughter they had commissioned in Nepal.

A routine genetic test back in Israel proved that the girl was not genetically related to them. They had to return the infant to Nepal and give it to a heterosexual couple. The gay couple is now awaiting the birth of another baby which should be related to them.

Surrogacy is legal in Israel only for heterosexual couples, so gay couple are forced to employ surrogate mothers overseas. Nepal was a popular destination until recently, when the country declared a moratorium on the practice to assess its legality.

The Israeli surrogacy agency Tamuz, which brokered the pregnancy, said that the mix-up was a rare case of “human error”. However, The Times of Israel interviewed experts who suggested that such errors might not be that rare. Another surrogacy agency told the newspaper that Israeli IVF clinics also make mistakes but that “there’s no need for genetic testing, so it can’t be proven.”

Dana Magdassi, the owner of another agency said: “It’s a very serious human error, but it doesn’t only happen overseas. I think it happens much less overseas, because the doctors know that at the end of the process, it’s obligatory to do a genetic test, so they’re doubly careful.” 

This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines.

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