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Surrogacy in India: Issues and Way Forward

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    28th Dec, 2018
  • The Lok Sabha recently passed Bill banning commercial surrogacy with penal provisions of jail term of up to 10 years and fine of up to ?10 lakh.
  • The bill is significant since India had become a hub of commercial surrogacy.

Issue

Context

  • The Lok Sabha recently passed Bill banning commercial surrogacy with penal provisions of jail term of up to 10 years and fine of up to ?10 lakh.
  • The bill is significant since India had become a hub of commercial surrogacy.

Background

  • India has been a preferred destination for those wanting a surrogate child.
  • The cheap availability of the service enables an overuse of the practice with commissioning parents arriving from various other countries as well.
  • In 2002, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laid out guidelines for surrogacy, which made the practice legal, but did not give it legislative backing. This led to a booming surrogacy industry which had lax laws and no enforcements.
  • A study conducted in July 2012, backed by the UN, put the surrogacy business at more than $400 million with more than 3000 fertility clinics all over the country.

About

  • Surrogacy is a method or agreement whereby a woman agrees to carry a pregnancy for another person or persons, who will become the new-born child's parent(s) after birth.
  • Intended parents may seek a surrogacy arrangement when either pregnancy is medically impossible, pregnancy risks present an unacceptable danger to the mother's health or is a same sex couple's preferred method of having children.
  • The legality and costs of surrogacy vary widely between jurisdictions, sometimes resulting in interstate or international surrogacy arrangements. There are laws in some countries which restrict and regulate surrogacy and the consequences of surrogacy.

Types of Surrogacy

On the basis of selection of Surrogate Mother:

  • Altruistic surrogacy: The surrogate mother receives no financial rewards for her pregnancy or the relinquishment of the child to the genetic parents except necessary medical expenses. This usually happens when the surrogate mother is a relative.
  • Commercial surrogacy: The surrogate mother is paid over and above the necessary medical expenses. This usually happens when the surrogate mother is not related to the mother.

On the basis of Embryos:

  • Traditional surrogacy: In this method, the surrogate mother carries the child for the full term and delivers it for the couple through artificial insemination. The surrogate mother is the biological mother of the child.
  • Gestational surrogacy: In this, the eggs of the mother are fertilized with father’s/donor’s sperm and then the embryo is placed into the uterus of the surrogate. In this case, the biological mother will be the one whose eggs are used and surrogate mother is called the birth mother.
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