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Woman demands Sh1.1m from Mediheal for breach of egg-harvesting contract

A woman awarded over Sh1.1 million for breach of an egg-harvesting contract is demanding payment from a Nairobi-based hospital and the doctor who handled the matter.

In the violated contract, Mediheal Diagnostic and Fertility Centre Limited and Dr Shaunak Khandwala planned to harvest ovum from the woman, identified as AC, and pay her Sh950,000.

However, a Milimani court in January 2023 established both the medical facility and medic terminated the contract arbitrarily after putting the donor on medication for months in readiness for the botched procedure.

Milimani magistrate Lucy Njora ordered Mediheal and Dr Khandwala to pay the woman Sh1,139,665.06 for breach of contract, an amount that has remained outstanding for months.

Ms Njora made the ruling in default of appearance after Mediheal and Dr Khandawala failed to file a defence in the case filed in 2022.

On August 8, 2023, Geoffrey Langat of Fatah Advocates, the lawyer for the donor, wrote a demand letter to Mediheal and Dr Khandawala, giving them 10 days to settle the amount, failure to which auctioneers will descend on their property to recover the said amount.

“Take notice that an interlocutory judgment was entered against you (Mediheal and Dr Khandwala) in default of appearance. A decree and certificate of costs were drawn and decretal sum now payable to (the) plaintiff (woman identified AC) is KSh1,139,665,” Langat states in the demand for pay.

Ms Njora on January 30, 2023, entered a judgment against the medic and the health facility when they failed to respond to the case filed last year for breach of contract.

“Judgement is hereby entered for the plaintiff as against the defendants (Mediheal and Dr Khandwala) in the sum of Sh950,000 plus costs and interest,” ruled Ms Njora. Legal and other costs were set at Sh57,550.

In the undefended suit, the woman told the court that on November 6, 2021, she entered into a written contract with the defendants to be an egg donor.

The defendants thereafter ‘put the plaintiff (ac) through a follicle retrieval (IVP) procedure which could lead to the extraction of the follicle’.

Ms Njora heard that the procedure, which could take 45 days, involved laboratory tests, a strict diet and 12 injections that could disrupt her normal menstrual cycle and disrupt the natural hormonal process.

“The process was to finally lead to induced extraction/harvest of the ovum by Dr Khandwala to be sold to recipients not known to AC,” Langat stated in the evidence to the court.

According to the agreement, AC was to be paid Sh950,000.

However, Langat told the court that a copy of the agreement was not issued to his client (AC) when it was executed by both parties.

On December 15, 2022, when the plaintiff was due to harvest the follicles, the defendants terminated the said agreement and chased AC away ‘without proper communication or counselling’.

The court heard that as a result, the process was unilaterally stopped by the defendants and she was later given medication which led to “painful follicles, causing her to go through a long period of pain and suffering”.

Langat told the court that the failure to complete the process as agreed resulted in psychological torture for the complainant.

The judge heard that the woman could be suffering from the effects of hormonal imbalance, leading to unusually moody moments that have affected her normal daily activities.

Langat told the court the woman had suffered loss and damage.

In her ruling, the judge said the plaintiff had proved her case against the defendants and granted judgment in her favour

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