The Kerala High Court observed the rights of a single woman who conceived through ART procedure i.e IVF.
A single mother who conceived through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) raised an appeal in the high court. Wanting a directive to strike down the column requiring the details of the child’s father in the birth certificate.
The court observed that the need to furnish the father’s details for a child conceived through IVF affects the dignity of the child and the mother.
The court also gave directions to the state for making changes in the forms designed to register the births and deaths of children born via IVF. It includes children conceived through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), like IVF.
The Kerala High Court ruled out that the right of a single mother to conceive by ART has got recognition. As a result, any form requiring the details of the father, which should be kept anonymous, is a violation of their fundamental rights of liberty, dignity, and privacy.
The landmark judgment was ruled out on a plea by a woman, who conceived through IVF procedure. Under the Kerala Registration of births and deaths rule of 1970, it is mandatory to provide fathers’ details. The IVF procedure requires keeping the identity of the sperm donor anonymous. Hence, she will not be able to state the identity of the father. The woman also appealed to the high court, that this condition violates her privacy and dignity.
The court heard the plea of the single mother. And, came to the observation that the rights of the single mother are recognized and accepted. So, though mandatory the court cannot compel the woman to disclose the identity of the father.
This particular case falls under the right to privacy. The right to privacy of single parents recognized by guidelines of ART Clinics. For the given set of conditions, there is no reason to provide the name of the father.
The court also agreed with the petitioner, that having a provision wanting the details of the father and keeping it blank affects the self-esteem. Such a gesture is against the dignity of the mother and the child.
The court also admits the fact that artificial conceiving was alien to Indian society until a few decades back. But, the modern lifestyle and personal choices have made this a normal phenomenon.
Hence, we need to have a law that can adapt to the changes in society. And it should provide fundamental support as guaranteed by the constitution of India.
However, the court also clarified that applicants can be asked to provide an affidavit stating that they are single parents. They will also need to produce copies of medical records.
Wondering why the high court wants these documents?
To ensure the well-being of the child. Also, to prevent the usage of such information to settle family issues.