Why in the discussion?
On December 19, the Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2013. In this Bill provision has been made to prevent surrogacy related to commercial purposes in the country, preventing abuse of surrogacy, and to ensure disadvantaged couples attain child happiness.
What is surrogacy?
Sarogesi has a direct meaning in Hindi: rental koch. The progress of reproductive science has made it possible for couples and other people to get natural childhood, who can not be their children due to some reasons. From this, the concept of ‘surrogate mother’ is born. Surrogacy is a method of supporting breeding. Gestational surrogacy is the most common form of gestational surrogacy. In this method, surrogate children are related to genetically identical father and surrogate mother. On the other hand, surrogate children in IVF are fully linked to the Traditional Surrogacy.
Why need regulation?
India has emerged as a surrogacy center for couples from different countries and exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born with surrogacy, and unethical activities related to intermediaries racket related to purchase and sale of human embryos and chromosomes. In the 228th report of the Law Commission of India, it has also been recommended to set up appropriate laws and to ban commercial surrogacy and allow for ethical and philanthropic surrogacy for the needy Indian citizens.
What is special in this bill?
This law will regulate surrogacy services in the country and this is its biggest plus point. Although commercial surrogacy, including the purchase and sale of human embryo and chromosomes, will be prohibited, but with specific conditions for certain purposes, moral surrogacy will be allowed for needy couples. This law will help in controlling unethical activities in surrogacy, as well as prevention of surrogacy being commercial. In addition, possible exploitation of children born with surrogate mothers and surrogacy will also be stopped.
- This bill will form the National Surrogacy Board and state surrogacy boards at the central level and regulate surrogacy in India through appropriate authorities in the States and Union Territories.
- This law will ensure the effective regulation of surrogacy, prevention of commercial surrogacy and the provision of moral surrogacy for needy displaced couples.
- All the disadvantaged Indian married couples who want to take advantage of moral benefits will benefit from this.
- Those who want to choose the option of the couple will be given an infertility certificate within 90 days.
- Rights of children born with surrogate mother and surrogacy will also be safe.
- Under the most vigorous provision of this bill, the ban on ‘commercial surrogacy’ and the convenience of disadvantaged couples in families has been kept in mind.
- NRI couples have been included in this bill, but there is no provision for foreign nationals.
- There are many clinics going on across the country which have become the hub of commercial surrogacy, but it will be stopped after the passage of the bill.
- ‘Close Relative’ is clearly defined.
- Those who violate the rules have been given a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
- This bill will be applicable to entire India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Surrogacy hub has become India
Today India has become a friendly destination for surrogacy. In the country, Assisted Reproductive Technology-ART industry has an annual turnover of about 25 billion rupees, which is termed as ‘golden kalash’ by the Law Commission. The main reason for the surge of surrogacy in India is its cheap and socially validation. In addition, surrogacy has emerged as a preferred choice because of the complex adoption process. Today, there are clinics providing facility of artificial insemination, IVF and surrogacy in the streets across the country.
Objectives and causes of the bill
- The objectives and reasons for the bill have been stated that in the last few years, India has emerged as the center of surrogacy for couples from different countries.
- Unable to produce children in the bill, the displaced women of the age of 23 to 50 years and the abducted men of 26 to 55 years (Indian married couple) can resort to ethical surrogacy.
- The concerned couple should be legally married for at least five years and should be an Indian citizen for surrogacy procedures.
- The offspring of the surrogacy will not be abandoned in any situation and it will get the same rights as the biological born child.
- The surrogate mother should be close relative to the disadvantaged couple and should be married beforehand. Such a woman will be allowed to become a surrogate mother only once.
- Any person, organization, clinic and lab will not advertise any type of surrogacy related.
- For the fashion and figurines, there will be prevention of childhood through surrogacy.
Supreme court on surrogacy
In 2015, the Supreme Court expressed concern over India as a favorite place for surrogacy tourism. Then the Supreme Court had directed the Central Government to re-examine the policy regarding allowing the import of human embryos while recommending banning professional surrogacy. It is worth noting that in 2013, the center had issued a notification in which foreign imports of human embryos were approved by artificial reproduction for foreign couples. Then the Supreme Court had said that many issues related to surrogacy do not come under any law and the government should bring a law with a holistic viewpoint.
At present there is no law for controlling surrogacy in India and commercial surrogacy is considered rational. The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) issued guidelines in 2005 for certification, inspection and control of ART clinics in India, due to the absence of any law. But due to the violation of these and the exploitation and extortion of surrogate mothers on a large scale, the law was felt for this.
Source: Indian Express, AIR, PIB and others