Cabinet has approved to introduce ‘Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill” 2019 in the Lok Sabha. This bill will prohibit any kind of commercial surrogacy. Only a close blood relative will be allowed to be the surrogate mother. Also, the abandonment of child out of surrogacy will be strictly prohibited under any circumstances. This bill also has a provision for constitution of ‘surrogacy boards’ at national and state levels.

Under this bill, only Indian couples who have been legally married can choose surrogacy. Also, the couple should be married for at least five years, as per the Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan.

Under this bill, only Indian couples who have been legally married can choose surrogacy. Also, the couple should be married for at least five years, as per the Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan. The aim of the bill is to establish an ethical practice of surrogacy and prevent the exploitation of surrogate mother or the surrogate child. It is also an effort to prevent unethical rackets run by the surrogacy clinics.

Provisions of the Bill

According to this new bill, a close relative of the married couple should be allowed to be the surrogate mother. She “should be an ever-married woman having a child of her own and between the age of 25-35 years.” Also, the woman will be allowed to act as a surrogate mother only ‘once’.  Infertile Indian married couple can opt for surrogacy, between the age of “23-50 years (female) and 26-55 years (male).” respectively. Besides commercial surrogacy, this bill will prohibit unethical sale and purchase of human embryos and gametes.

India is emerging as the ‘surrogacy hub’, due to lack of legislation to regulate surrogacy in the country. The practices of surrogacy have been misused by surrogacy clinics.

India is emerging as the ‘surrogacy hub’, due to lack of legislation to regulate surrogacy in the country. The practices of surrogacy have been misused by surrogacy clinics. To stop the unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy. Also to prevent rackets involving intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes, this bill was introduced.

Read Also: Centre Okays Maternity Leave for Working Moms Using Surrogacy

Government’s statement

“Cabinet has approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, but we will disclose the details later as the parliament session in on,” said Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, at a briefing. Further, the government said “It will also prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy. No permanent structure is proposed to be created in the draft Bill. Accordingly, there will not be any financial implications, except for the meetings of the National Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities, which will be met out of the administrative budgets of respective departments.”

This prohibition of commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy by enacting suitable legislation was recommended by the 228th report of the Commission of India. This bill was introduced in Parliament last year as well, but lapsed as iy could not get a nod from the parliament. After the Bill is enacted by Parliament, the central government shall notify the date of the commencement of the Act.

Divya Tripathi is an intern with SheThepeople.TV

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