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Social & Business Views On Changes In the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill

With this bill, only Indian married couples who have been married for atleast 5 years could have only opted for Altruistic Surrogacy

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Surrogacy is definitely a safe and a reliable process which is why there has been a wider reception of the practice.

But in the past one year, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill has undergone several changes but the Parliament recently rolled out several points that were much needed and served the interest of many. Surrogacy is being practiced ever since in the country and was commercialized but in the previously proposed bills state that there should be a ban on the surrogacy bill. It stated that Altruistic Surrogacy should be enforced with a “close relative” being a surrogate mother.

With this bill, only Indian married couples who have been married for atleast 5 years could have only opted for Altruistic Surrogacy. Altruistic Surrogacy means that the surrogate mother shall not be given (in cash or in kind) except for the medical expenses borne by her.

However, this proposed was highly impractical and would have suppressed the needs of several people in the country. It would have only added to the agonies of the people thereby, leaving them childless. But, the Rajya Sabha Select Committee has come up with several and major omissions in this bill which are follows:

1. The bill states that the surrogate mother need not be a ‘close relative’

2. It recommends the omission of five-year time limit before seeking surrogacy. Single women and PIOs recommended to avail surrogacy

3. Insurance cover for the surrogate mother to be increased from 16 months to 36 months

4. Favors passing of ART Bill prior to the passing of Surrogacy Bill in the country

5. The Committee also recommended modification in the definition of altruistic surrogacy so as to cover 'such other prescribed expenses' on nutritional food required, maternity-wear etc.

Social Views on the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill

The ‘close’ relative of the childless couples might not have been willing to be surrogate mothers. They might have taken it to be a burden and cut away all their bonds with the intending parents. With this decision, the government had seemed to victimize and increase the misery of the intending parents.

The removal of the ‘close relative’ clause is extremely applauded as it actually made no sense. Surrogacy is still subject to a lot of prejudices in the country and in this situation, no close relative would have stood up to take this responsibility.

Adding to this, the clause of waiting for five years before availing surrogacy was also mindless and its abolition is favored for. It is a well-known fact that the age and infertility levels of a person have a direct relation. The increasing age of a person results in rapid falling of the fertility levels too. Thus, waiting for something right, Surrogacy is have been a complete flop.

In yet another recommendation of far-reaching implication, the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha advocated that ‘single Indian woman’ i.e. a divorcee or a widow in the age group of 35 to 45 years may be allowed to avail surrogacy.

Business Views on the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill

Instead of the Surrogacy Bill having a complete ban on the commercial aspect of surrogacy, the government could have set guidelines for administered surrogacy. It could fix a minimum amount for payment to prevent misuse and exploitation to surrogates which is a root cause of many problems.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill

Dr Saarthak Bakshi

The author is CEO, International Fertility Centre

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