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New Surrogacy Bill
1. The Union Cabinet has given its nod to the Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2019.
2. Earlier, it was legalised in India, in order to promote medical tourism which has made India, a hub for surrogacy.
How Surrogacy business evolved in India?
1. Gestational surrogacy become popular in India due to
a. advances in reproductive medicine
b. A large pool of impoverished women
c. Low clinical costs compared to other developed countries.
2. According to a study by the Confederation of Indian Industry in 2012, the size of India’s surrogate motherhood industry was $2 billion a year.
Which are the different types of Surrogacy?
1. Here the embryo eggs are fertilized by the in vitro method.
2. It is implanted into the uterus of the surrogate mothers who then carries and delivers the baby.
1. The surrogate mother is impregnated with the sperm of the intended father artificially.
2. It makes her both gestational and genetic mother.
1. The Surrogacy is commercial or altruistic based on the compensation paid for the surrogacy.
Why regulation of surrogacy law is needed?
1. The unregulated business of surrogate mothers lead to concerns over rampant exploitation.
2. Poor and illiterate women of rural background are persuaded with lucrative money. Such deals rob women of their right to decide about their own body and life.
3. India has no provision of psychological screening or legal counselling for surrogacy which is mandatory in the USA.
4. In the case of an unfavourable outcome of the pregnancy, surrogate mothers are unlikely to be paid and there is no provision of insurance or post medical pregnancy and psychiatric support.
Problems of Cross border Surrogacy
1. Cross border couples face many problems such as language barrier and legal battles.
2. It also leads to problems in citizenship, nationality, motherhood, parentage and rights of the children.
3. The child could be disowned by the biological parents if it’s born with defects and the child could be orphaned.
What are the provisions of the Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2019?
1. It prohibits commercial surrogacy in India and permits only ethical altruistic surrogacy is allowed.
2. It means the surrogate mother cannot take any money, the intended parents can voluntarily pay money but there cannot be any commercial agreement or contract.
2. It provides for constitution of “surrogacy boards” at national and state levels.
3. Intending couples should not abandon the child under any condition.
4. Only Indian couples legally married for at least 5 years allowed to opt for surrogacy.
5. Age Criteria: Between 23 to 50 years for female and 26 to 55 years for male for intended couples.
Eligibility Criteria for Surrogate Mother:
1. She must be a close relative of the intending couple.
2. She must be married and have a child of her own.
3. Age: 25 to 35 years.
4. She should not have been a surrogate earlier, must be certifiable mentally and physically fit.
Rights of the Child:
1. A child born out of surrogacy to be the biological child of intending couple.
2. The new-born child shall be entitled to all rights and privileges available to a natural child.
1. Registration of surrogacy clinics and practitioners under appropriate authority is mandatory.
2. Compulsory insurance coverage for the surrogate mother and no sex selection are mandatory provisions.
Who made objections to the bill?
1. The Congress party made certain objections to the bill viz.
a. It prevents same-sex couples from having surrogate children, there are credible evidences to show that same-sex parent is as good as heterosexual parents.
b. Unreasonable restriction to hold married couples for five years on their reproductive rights.
How other countries are regulating surrogacy?
1. Most countries allowing surrogacy framed laws to regulate thereby protecting the rights of the surrogate mother and the child.
2. Britain, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Denmark have allowed altruistic surrogacy as legal.
3. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria prohibit all forms of surrogacy.
4. In the USA the surrogacy laws vary from state to state. Surrogacy friendly states allow both commercial and altruistic surrogacy.
5. Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine allow both altruistic and commercial surrogacy.
6. Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria don’t prohibit surrogacy but have no formal law.
7. Czech Republic, Colombia, Chile, Hungary have unregulated surrogacy.
Where lies the way forward?
1. Lack of internationally recognized laws creates difficulty for aspiring parents.
2. An international agreement like that of Hague adoption convention could provide consistency across countries, thereby making the process more streamlined.