Commercial Surrogacy Bill: Pros and Cons

Introduction

The Central government has approved the introduction of a bill that seeks to ban commercial surrogacy and sanction only infertile couples to bear a child using a surrogate mother.

Background

  • India has begun to grow as a surrogacy hub and incidents were reported on unethical practices. 
  • As per study the conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 2012, the extent of India’s Surrogate motherhood industry was around $2 billion a year. 
  • Many incidents related to misuse of surrogate mothers, abandonment of babies born out of surrogacy & mediators importing human embryos & gametes. 
  • An Australian pair allegedly abandoned one of twin babies born to an Indian Surrogate mother in 2012, as they already had a child of the same sex. 

Provision of Proposed Bill

  • Non- Resident Indians (NRI) or People of Indian Origin (PIO) will not be permitted to choose a surrogate mother in India. 
  • Single men & women, heterosexual couples who choose not to opt for marriage, gay couples & transgender persons are not allowed to have baby through surrogacy. 
  • Lawfully married Indian couples can have a surrogate child only after five years of legal marriage & has to submit a medical certificate as a proof for infertility. 
  • The bill makes it mandatory for surrogate mothers to be married and be a close relative of the couple wanting a child. She should also have given birth to a healthy child before bearing a baby for another couple. 
  • Violating the law can get 10 years of jail term or a fine of Ten Lakh rupees. 
  • To supervise, a National Surrogacy Board chaired by the health minister will be created. 
  • The constitutional rights of surrogate mother & children born out of surrogacy will be protected. 
 

Pros

  • Check the misuse of women especially poorer section women, who were forced to get into this business for the survival of their family. 
  • It protects women from frequent surrogate pregnancies for financial gains. 
  • The enormous people involving in surrogacy are poor or illiterate women, who may have only a weak grasp of their contractual rights. 

Cons

  • The complete ban of commercial surrogacy will drive the industry underground & render surrogate mothers even more vulnerable. 
  • It does not address the present social reality where singles, homosexuals or live-in pairs might wish to have a biological child through the surrogacy route. 
  • It has not kept an eye on the livelihood of poor women who are involved in surrogacy business. 
  • There could be the possibility of coercion of daughter in law in families.

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