RSTV – The Big Picture: Wombs Not for Rent

Guest 

Dr. Shivani Sachdev Gour, General Secretary, INSTAR,

Shilpi Jain, Lawyer, Supreme Court,

Hari G Ramasubramanian, Chief Consultant, Indian Surrogacy Law Centre,

Kiran Chawla Kapoor, Social Activist,

Shankar Agrawal, Former Secretary of women & Child Development

 Context

Union cabinet has given its approval to the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, clearing the path for the direction of surrogacy by setting up National Surrogacy Board at the union level and states and Union Territories constituting the State Surrogacy Boards will follow this by the State Appropriate Authorities within three months of the notification by the Central Government. This provision shall apply to whole of India, except for Jammu and Kashmir.

Objective behind the proposal

  • Effective direction of surrogacy
  • Prohibit business in surrogacy
  • Allows charitable surrogacy to the poor Indian fruitless couples
  • Rein in deceptive practices with the goal that the abuse of business moms is ceased

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016

Highlights of the Bill

  • Surrogacy is a course of action whereby a planning couple commissions a surrogate mother to carry their child.
  • The intending couple must be Indian nationals and wedded for no less than five years with no less than one of them being infertile. The surrogate mother must be a nearby relative who has been married and has had her very own child.
  • No installment other than sensible therapeutic costs can be made to the surrogate mother. The surrogate child will be considered to be the biological child of the intending couple.
  • Central and state governments will designate suitable experts to give qualification endorsements to the planning couple and the surrogate mother. These specialists will likewise manage surrogacy facilities.
  • Undertaking surrogacy for a fee, publicizing it or abusing the surrogate mother will be culpable with detainment for a long time and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.

Key Issues and Analysis 

  • The Bill permits surrogacy just for couples who can’t conceive a child. This method is not permitted if there should be an occurrence of some other restorative conditions which could keep a lady from bringing forth a child.
  • The Bill indicates qualification conditions that should be satisfied by the aiming couple with a specific end goal to commission surrogacy. Further, it enables extra conditions to be endorsed by regulations. This might be excessive delegation of legislative powers.
  • The surrogate mother and the intending couple require qualification testaments from the appropriate authority. The Bill does not indicate a period constrain inside which such endorsements will be conceded. It likewise does not indicate an appeal process on the off chance that the application is rejected.
  • The surrogate mother must be a ‘close relative’ of the planning couple. The Bill does not characterize the term ‘close relative’. Further, the surrogate mother (close relative) may give her own particular egg for the pregnancy. This may prompt negative health consequences for the surrogate infant.
  • For an abortion, notwithstanding following the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, the endorsement of the appropriate authority and the assent of the surrogate mother is required. The Bill does not indicate a period constrain for giving such an endorsement. Further, the intending couple has no say in the consent to abort.

Indian scenario

  • India has risen a center point for infertility treatment, drawing in individuals from the world over with its best in class innovation and focused costs at first to treat fruitlessness.
  • With the predominant financial disparities, underprivileged ladies found an alternative to ‘lease their wombs’ and in this way profit to deal with their costs — frequently to encourage a marriage, empower youngsters to get education, or accommodate hospitalization or surgery for somebody in the family.
  • With the increase in demand and the middlemen, a few occurrences started to develop and there was an expansion in the rate of recording police dissensions for unethical rehearses, exploitation of surrogate moms, abandonment of youngsters conceived out of surrogacy and rackets of middle people bringing in human developing lives and gametes

 Govt. Limits Surrogacy To ‘Infertile Indian Couples’ 

  • Making it clear that India will not be a baby farm for “foreigners,” the Centre told the Supreme Court that it did not support rent-a-womb commercial surrogacy and would make such exploitation of women and children wombs punishable under the law.
  • The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said surrogacy would be “altruistic” and not commercial, and limited to “infertile Indian married couples and not to foreigners.”
  • “The Government of India does not support commercial surrogacy as a policy stand and also the scope of surrogacy is limited to Indian married infertile couples only and not to foreigners,” the Ministry said in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court.
  • This provision, it said, would be part of The Assisted Reproductive Techniques (Regulation) Bill, 2014, which was currently doing the rounds among the States for comments.
  • The Ministry was silent on whether the new law limited surrogacy only to “married couples” or would go further and allow single parents to have and raise surrogate children. It said the paramount goal of the new law was to protect surrogate mothers.
  • The Ministry further said that it was against the import of human embryo for surrogacy purposes.
  • The surrogate mother needs to be a close relative of the couple, who has been married and already has a child.
  • No payment of any sort other than medical expenses will be allowed.
  • The best shields for surrogates would be strengthening instead of prohibiting business surrogacy, the legislature should work towards legitimizing, regularizing and directing.

 

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