Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Právo: No one wants Czech child born to surrogate mother

ČTK |
13 August 2015

Prague, Aug 12 (CTK) - The Czech Republic has the first case of an infant who was born to a surrogate mother, is wanted by no one over his health defects and has been placed in institutional care, daily Pravo writes Wednesday.

The case reminds of the world-known case of an Australian couple who only accepted the healthy child and rejected the other one after a surrogate mother gave birth to twins a year ago, the paper writes.

The Czech infant, a boy born in the Zlin Region, south Moravia, is one-year old now. He suffers from congenital defects, including epilepsy and paralysis, which is why he is wanted neither by his biological parents nor the surrogate mother, the daily writes.

The case was described by a south Moravian doctor in the August issue of the My Gynaecology journal, with the aim to provoke a debate about the ethical aspects of surrogate motherhood in the Czech Republic and the rights of the children who are born to surrogate mothers.

These cases have no legislative coverage, except for the legal provision banning surrogate motherhood as a business activity.

Under the Czech law, the child's biological father is also the official father with the right to take over the child after his/her birth. The biological mother, on her part, has to apply for the child's adoption, Pravo writes.

In practice, the biological parents (officially) cover only the health costs and medical checkups for the surrogate mother, who has all rights to the child and is expected to give them up after the childbirth. If she refuses to do so, the biological parents can do nothing about it and have no chance to gain the child, Pravo writes.

Dozens of children are born in the Czech Republic this way, but the case of the disabled boy from the Zlin Region is specific, probably the first in the Czech Republic that involves a baby born to a surrogate mother and wanted by no one, Pravo writes.

Pravo has found that the biological parents are the 40-year-old couple from south Bohemia. The woman could not conceive because of her lacking uterus.

They underwent an in-vitro cycle of assisted fertilisation, the costs of which are covered by health insurers. They chose a 35-year-old woman with a slight mental disorder, a resident from south Moravia, who was single at the time, for the surrogate mother of their child.

Their doctor in the assisted reproduction centre in Zlin was opposed to their choice, since the surrogate mother suffered from epilepsy.

However, after the parents submitted a document from a neurologist asserting that the woman has been without epileptic attacks for long and is capable of having a child, the doctor yielded to their pressure and accepted the woman as surrogate mother, Pravo writes, citing the centre's director David Rumpik.

The woman got pregnant in accordance with the plan. However, in her early pregnancy she refused to undergo genetic tests that would have uncovered the child's wrong development.

Moreover, she started to suffer from frequent epileptic attacks, and doctors intensified the doze of the medicine she used, Pravo says.

In her 23rd week of pregnancy, an ultrasound check definitively showed that the child was not developing adequately. They uncovered its congenital serious defects of legs and backbone.

"The experts in genetics then recommended that she interrupt her pregnancy," Rumpik said.

The Czech law enables doctors to perform abortion by the end of the 12th week of pregnancy, and by the end of the 24th week in exceptional cases of foetuses afflicted by genetic defects.

However, the woman failed to meet the deadline, allegedly over her busy schedule.

At the same moment, the biological parents renounced the child.

The surrogate mother carried the child until his birth. Both she and the biological father consented to the infant being placed in a children's home, after a series of surgeries he underwent immediately after his birth, Pravo writes.

"This is an unfortunate case...of a wrong choice of the surrogate mother," Czech Gynaecological and Obstetrical Society deputy head Vladimir Dvorak told the daily.

"A surrogate mother should always be fully healthy. On the other hand, the people who use the chance of surrogate motherhood should realise beforehand that neither pregnancy nor childbirth always have to be smooth and without any complications, and they should consider their plan thoroughly in advance," Dvorak said.

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