A fertility centre in Solapur on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that it had destroyed a cryopreserved embryo on the request of a woman whose husband had died in 2017. The court was hearing a case in which the family of the deceased man had urged the court to allow one of his sisters to act as a surrogate for the embryo, without the consent of the woman.
While the woman had agreed to the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure when her husband was alive, she gave her consent to destroy the embryo after his death.
The petition filed by the father, mother and two sisters of the deceased through their lawyer Tejesh Dande had asked the court to “hold and declare” the father and mother of the deceased entitled to utilise the embryo. However, the counsel appearing for the fertility centre submitted a certificate stating that “after obtaining consent, we have destroyed the cryopreserved embryo”. The certificate also stated that it destroyed the embryo on the wife’s request.
The centre submitted a copy of the letter given to it by the woman, in which she gave “consent to destroy my cryopreserved embryo”. The letter added that she did not “wish to get them transferred” to the family of the deceased.
Following this, a division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice M S Sanklecha said it could not grant any relief as of now and that it would hear the contention of both parties academically.
The family’s petition said the deceased got married in November 2014, but he and his wife were unable to conceive after two years of marriage, due to which they were advised to visit a fertility and IVF centre. The couple was advised to undergo an IVF procedure and was given the option of surrogacy. The couple underwent medical check-ups, the petition said, following which their sperm and ova were collected for the Caro Embryo Transfer. The petition said the Caro Embryo Transfer is a process in assisted reproduction, in which the embryo is placed in the uterus of a female (surrogate mother) “with the intent to establish pregnancy”.
The petitioners also said the two sisters of the deceased — both 39 years old, married and mothers of two children and one child respectively — had agreed to act as surrogates. Before they could go through with the process, the man died in October 2017.
The petition claimed that despite the husband’s death, his sisters and the woman were positive about proceeding with the surrogacy procedure.