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Surrogacy Bill 2016: Things You Should Know

The new Surrogacy Regulation Bill draft, 2016 is witnessing much criticism from the experts, intended parents and even surrogates. Last week, the draft of Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2016 was cleared by the Union Cabinet and waits to be passed in the Parliament winter session.

The Bill draft is confronted by experts with being insensitive, conservative and least concerned about the intended parents. While the government claims its objective is to regulate the morbid practices related to exploitation of the surrogate mothers and the legal parentage of children born.

Let’s first know some of the important proposed features of the Bill 2016:

  • Ban on commercial surrogacy
  • Single parents, divorcees, unmarried couples, live-in partners are barred from opting surrogacy.
  • Lesbians or gay couples are barred from opting surrogacy.
  • Foreigners, NRIs or PIOs (persons of Indian origin) who hold Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cannot seek surrogacy.

Thus,

  • Surrogacy is now only permissible to married Indian heterosexual couples.
  • Couples seeking surrogacy should at least be married for five years.
  • The wife’s age should be between 23-50 years and the husband should be 26-55 years old.
  • Couples seeking children through surrogacy should have proven infertility.
  • A couple with already a surrogate child cannot opt for surrogacy for the second child.
  • Couples who already have adopted child are also barred from surrogacy.
  • Couples with already one child cannot opt for surrogacy.
  • The surrogate mother should be married and have borne a healthy child.
  • A woman can only once become a surrogate mother in her lifetime.
  • Only ‘altruistic’ surrogacy will be allowed in which only close relatives of married couples can become their surrogate without any money exchange.

Banning commercial surrogacy in India completely in the new Bill is said to check on the unethical practices and the health risks to both surrogate mothers and the babies born. But at the same time it can also give rise to behind the curtain practices. There are more chances of exploitation of surrogates and illegal activities. This also shatters the dreams of thousands of couples who were looking at India to become parents. It would have been a better ruling to place a strong lawful check on touts and illegal practices rather than barring it completely for overseas couples.

Clause like only ‘altruistic’ surrogacy can result in transfer of genetic disorders.  The five-year marriage condition also seems to be irrelevant in cases where incurable infertility is already declared by the specialists.

Amid the uproar by the large section, the government has indicated to make some alterations. It is yet to be seen, what and how the amendments are made in the final Surrogacy Bill 2016. The government approach should be to enforce stricter laws to protect the rights of the surrogate mothers and children born through them rather than nearly banning this explicit gift of medical science for most of the couples facing infertility.

Visit: Global Fertility Guide

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I want to thank GMA for being there whenever I needed sound advice for my IVF procedure. You have been always supporting and guiding. I wish you best of luck for all the good service you are doing by helping people to take well-informed decisions.

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