Indian authorities detained a Malaysian man who carried a live human embryo into Mumbai airport. He is believed to have made at least ten trips in the last 18 months. Indian doctor urges people to take part in a pro-life march on 24 March.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Media yesterday reported that embryo trafficking might be taking place in India after a Malaysian national was arrested with a live human embryo in a specialised suitcase.
For Dr Pascoal Carvalho, an Indian doctor member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, this is the sign of a "culture of death masquerading as one giving life”. This, he explains, "is a tragic thing. Human life is a precious gift of God, from conception to natural death."
The Malaysian man was identified as one Partiban Durai, possibly acting as courier carrying embryos to a fertility clinic in Bandra West, Mumbai, the Indo-Nippon IVF, on Turner Road, which specialises in vitro fertilization.
Investigators believe he made ten trips to the clinic in the last 18 months, illegally importing fertilised eggs to be implanted in the uterus of surrogate mothers.
In India, the demand for surrogate pregnancies through the commodification of women’s bodies has created a thriving market thanks to the low costs of pregnancies compared to Western countries, ranging from US$ 18,000 to US$ 30,000, or a third of the cost in the United States.
India adopted a law that imposes up to five years in prison for commercial surrogacy. Last December, the lower house of the Indian parliament (Lok Sabha) banned in vitro fertilisation for singles and foreigners.
The Diocesan Human Life Committee (DHLC) of the Archdiocese of Bombay (Mumbai) holds regular symposia promoting a culture of life, Dr Carvalho said, adding that a rally will be held on this topic on 24 March.
At last, in his view, “The prophetic voice of the Church counters the anti-life mentality and actively promotes a culture of life.”