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Womb rental ends in death

A young homemaker lost her life soon after giving birth to a second child on Saturday night at a Ranchi hospital in a human tragedy that marked the death of Hazaribagh’s first surrogate mother.

According to relatives of the victim Ranjeeta Lal (29), she had a cardiac problem but was forced by her husband Bikki Lal, and her in-laws to carry the surrogate child of her sister-in-law in her womb.

In 2008, Ranjeeta, a college graduate, married a medical representative and resident of Okni. A year later, she gave birth to a boy, Shubh. “That’s when her doctor told her not go for a second child as she had cardiac problems,” said her brother Mukul Sinha.

But apparently, as her sister-in-law Soni Sinha stayed childless after eight years of marriage, Ranjeeta’s in-laws mooted the idea of her as a carrier for a surrogate baby.

According to Ranjeeta’s relatives, Soni and her husband Abhay Kumar Sinha underwent the IVF procedure in Calcutta and the embryo was implanted in Ranjeeta’s womb. For delivery, they took Ranjeeta to Ranchi’s Orchid Hospital where she died of a massive heart attack around 9pm on Saturday after giving birth to a male infant.

Ranjeeta’s last rites were conducted at Hazaribagh on Sunday evening.

“They hid the entire plan from us and did not allow us to meet Ranjeeta though we stay barely two kilometres away,” an angry Mukul said. “Though she was medically advised against another delivery, she was forced into it for her sister-in-law and lost her life.”

He added that Ranjeeta had consulted Dr Anwar Ekram, an eminent city cardiologist.

“I don’t remember this lady’s case at the moment, but a woman with cardiac problems is usually discouraged from pregnancy, depending on the severity of her ailment,” Ekram said.

Ranjeeta’s brother-in-law Nikki Lal admitted she had cardiac problems, but stressed Ranjeeta chose to become a surrogate mother. “This is a family matter,” he said.

However, Ranjeeta’s mother Sunita Devi and brothers Mukul, Prashant and Nishant said they would lodge an FIR against Bikki Lal and his family for forcing Ranjeeta into doing something that proved fatal for her health.

As the news of Ranjeeta’s death spread, her relatives and neighbours from Kumhartoli, came and protested before Bikki’s house. Prominent persons of the area made him deposit Rs 4 lakh in the bank for son Shubh, an LKG student at Sister Nivedita Montessori School, who is now motherless.