With the goal of putting an end to the exploitation of poor women who agree to become surrogate mothers for money, the Union Cabinet last month, cleared the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016.
Here are a few quick facts about the bill that have made it controversial and one of the most debated stories recently :
According to the Bill, only Indian couples, who have been married for at least 5 years can opt for surrogacy, provided at least one of them have been proven to have fertility-related issues.
2. Only close relatives, not necessarily related by blood, will be able to offer altruistic surrogacy to the eligible couples.
3. The new Bill has put a complete ban on commercial surrogacy.
4. It also bans unmarried people, live-in couples, and homosexuals from opting for altruistic surrogacy. Now, foreigners, even Overseas Indians, cannot commission surrogacy.
5. A woman can become a surrogate mother only for altruistic purpose and under no circumstances, she will be paid for it, although payment can be made towards medical expenses.
Surrogates aren’t exploited, according to Gita Aravamudan. “With this sweeping ban, the Bill negates the rights of parenthood to single persons, divorcees, widowed persons, single sex couples, live-in relationship partners and others who come outside the patriarchal norm”.Gita Aravamudan is a journalist and author of the book Baby Makers: The Story of Indian Surrogacy.
India is simply following the lead of Europe and many other countries, according to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research. Writing in The Hindu, she says the Government is determined to stop commercial surrogacy. She also advocates for adoption, which according to her an underutilised option.
The Bill has been placed before Parliament and we look forward to keeping you updated on this issue.