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बेसिक इंग्लिश का दूसरा सत्र (कक्षा प्रारंभ : 22 अक्तूबर, शाम 3:30 से 5:30)
Commercial Surrogacy
Aug 14, 2017

[GS Paper I: (Role of women and women's organisation, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanisation, their problems and their remedies)]

Why in news?

A parliamentary standing committee (PSC) has recently submitted its report on the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 introduced in Lok Sabha in November 2016. The PSC has rejected a blanket ban on commercial surrogacy proposed in the Bill.

What is Surrogacy?

  • When a couple wants a baby but is unable to have a child because either or both partners are medically unfit to conceive, another woman (surrogate mother) is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the father. She then carries the child full term and delivers it for the couple. 
  • In such a case, the surrogate mother is the biological mother of the child. In instances when the father’s sperm cannot be used, a donor sperm can also be used. This is traditional surrogacy.
  • In gestational surrogacy, eggs from the mother are fertilised with the father’s/donor’s sperm and then the embryo is placed into the uterus of the surrogate, who carries the child to term and delivers it. In this case, the biological mother is still the woman whose eggs are used, while the surrogate is called the birth mother.

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 

It was introduced with the aim of ending exploitation of women by banning commercial surrogacy in India.

  • The proposed bill aims at ensuring effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples. 
  • It proposes establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and Union Territories to regulate surrogacy related issues. 
  • The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile. 
  • Unmarried couples, single parents, live—in partners and homosexuals cannot opt for surrogacy.
  • The surrogate mother has to be a close relative who has been married and has had a child of her own.
  • No payment other than reasonable medical expenses can be made to the surrogate mother.  The surrogate child will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.
  • Undertaking surrogacy for a fee, advertising it or exploiting the surrogate mother will be punishable with imprisonment for 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.

Key highlights of the PSC report

  • Parliamentary standing committee said that commercial surrogacy could trigger a black market for surrogacy services in India.
  • By banning compensated surrogacy, the whole surrogacy service could go underground and it would lead to increased exploitation with no mechanism for protection of any of the parties involved in the surrogacy arrangement.
  • It could result in trafficking of surrogate mothers to foreign nations or safe surrogacy havens around the globe for monetary returns. 
  • The provision of no monetary incentive in the proposed Bill except medical expenses can make surrogacy similar to “forced labour” which is prohibited under Article-23 of the Constitution.
  • Endorsing altruistic surrogacy will enforce emotional and social pressure on close female relatives without any compensation for immense emotional and bodily labour of gestation involved in surrogacy as well as loss of livelihood.
  • Live-in couples, same-sex couples, widows and single parents should also be allowed to use surrogacy option, irrespective of whether they can conceive, and a national registry of surrogate mothers should be established.

Why the need for a Surrogacy Bill?

  • Commercial surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002 under the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 
  • As per the 228th report of the Law Commission of India (2009), the artificial reproduction treatment (ART) industry has become a Rs. 25,000 crore industry.
  • India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries and there have been reports of unethical practices such as exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and cases of intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes. 
  • The Law Commission of India had recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing only ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian citizens by enacting a suitable legislation. 

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