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Q. Regulation on surrogacy: Comment on recently approved the draft Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016.
Aug 27, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently union cabinet has approved the draft Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016. The bill aims to protect the woman from victimization at the hands of those whose need for a child may tempt them to overlook the exploitation rampant in the current commercial surrogacy ecosystem. The draft surrogacy Bill aims at regulating commissioning of surrogacy in the country in a proper manner.

Surrogacy in India-

  • Over the years, India has become a global hub for the practice of women being contracted to carry others’ babies.
  • It has been done usually for a payment with help of agents and doctors in the market. Currently there is no proper regulation on surrogacy in India.
  • As per the 2009 Law Commission Report, the artificial reproduction treatment industry is Rs. 25,000 crore industry.
  • While estimates of the size of the surrogacy market vary wildly, it is one in which the woman carrying an embryo has been in a grey zone, with uncertain legal and compensatory protection.

Key features of bill-

  • It promises to ensure parentage of children born out of surrogacy is legal and transparent.
  • It proposes complete ban on commercial surrogacy. Only legally wedded Indian couples can have children through surrogacy.
  • Foreigners, even Overseas Indians, are barred from commissioning surrogacy.
  • A woman will be allowed to become a surrogate mother only for altruistic purpose and under no circumstances money shall be paid to her, except for medical expenses.
  • Unmarried couples, single parents, live—in partners and homosexuals cannot opt for surrogacy as per the new bill.
  • Surrogacy regulation board will be set-up at Central and State-level.

Analysis-

  • The unregulated surrogacy has become a hub for the exploitation of poor, hapless women. Hence the regulation for surrogacy industry is essential.
  • Proposed regulation are welcome, but in its present form the Bill may end up denying millions of Indian women the opportunity to take advantage of advancements in medical science.
  • Banning commercial surrogacy may affect livelihood of women belong to lower strata of society.
  • As bars overseas Indians, foreigners, unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and gay couples are barred from commissioning the services of surrogate mothers, these bars on surrogacy violates the fundamental rights (article 14 and 21) of stakeholders.

Conclusion-

Regulation to surrogacy was long overdue, because surrogacy industry in India was rampant without any regulations. Many womens from poor family got exploited by the agents and doctors. In this background the proposed move is welcome. But government should look into various issues raised by all stakeholders before passing it in parliament.


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