Mumbai clinic named in embryo smuggling

 

The article states that a man travelling from Malaysia has been caught at Mumbai airport attempting to smuggle a live human embryo in his suitcase to a fertility clinic in India, named as the Indo Nippon IVF clinic in Mumbai.  It was reported that he had done this multiple times in an 18-month period. Partheban Durai was detained at the airport by India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the following day participated in a sting operation in which he delivered the canister under DRI surveillance to the clinic founder and laboratory director, Dr Goral Gandhi.  The clinic is now being investigated for its alleged role in a smuggling ring. Dr Gandhi denies the clinic has any such involvement.

Durai, who is a Malaysian national, claimed to work for Heart to ART in Malaysia, a surrogacy agency which the DRI believe is illegally exporting embryos. After searching the IVF centre, the DRI reported they had recovered further evidence of illegal involvement with fertility organisations in Malaysia.

The DRI has said it suspects that Malaysian couples are exporting embryos for surrogacy to India, as the practice is forbidden by Islamic law in Malaysia. However, India's Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 was passed in December, prohibiting commercial surrogacy and only allowing altruistic surrogacy among close relatives. Foreigners and non-resident Indian citizens are banned from seeking surrogacy arrangements in the country.

The import of embryos to India is also banned, except for research purposes, and a certificate is required from the Indian Council of Medical Research to bring embryos into India, which Durai was unable to provide.

A Mumbai High Court hearing is set to take place on 3 April.

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