The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016

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SURROGACY REGULATION BILL

Surrogacy in India : Surrogacy Regulation bill 2016

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Before we head to Surrogacy Regulation bill, let us go through the Trending current affairs articles of this month.

Surrogacy Regulation bill: What is Surrogacy?

  • Traditional 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 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.
  • Gestational surrogacy: wherein 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 embryo and delivers the baby. In this case, the biological mother is still the woman whose eggs are used, while the surrogate is called the birth mother.

SURROGACY REGULATION BILL

Surrogacy Regulation bill : India becoming Surrogacy hub

  • According to Union minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj, the need for the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016, came after India emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples and the increased number of incidents reported on unethical practices.

Surrogacy Regulation bill : Common reasons in India

  • Malformation of or infection in the womb
  • Absence or removal of womb by hysterectomy
  • Recurring miscarriages
  • Repeated failure of IVF
  • Other conditions that make impossibly or risky for a woman, such as severe heart disease

Surrogacy Regulation bill : The concerns with surrogacy in India

  • The objective of the Surrogacy Regulation Bill is the prohibition of foreigners from commissioning surrogacy in the country, which has time and again led to exploitation of women, especially those in rural and tribal areas.
  • Surrogacy Regulation Bill, once in effect, will help authorities to take action on the various surrogacy rackets that are currently in operation across the country.
  • There have also been many instances of childless couples of very advanced age opting for surrogacy and IVF. Though the Bill so far just prohibits single parents, homosexual couples and live-in relationship couples to opt for altruistic surrogacy, many hope the guidelines will also aid in dissuading ‘senior couples’ from opting for this as well.

The Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016:

  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 was introduced by Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mr. J. P. Nadda in Lok Sabha on November 21, 2016.
  • The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple and agrees to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.
  • The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy. Commercial surrogacy includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.
  • Surrogacy is permitted when it is,
    • (i) for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility;
    • (ii) altruistic;
    • (iii) not for commercial purposes;
    • (iv) not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation.
  • The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.
  • A certificate of essentiality will be issued upon fulfillment of the following conditions:
    • (i) a certificate of proven infertility of one or both members of the intending couple from a District Medical Board;
    • (ii) an order of parentage and custody of the surrogate child passed by a Magistrate’s court;
    • (iii) insurance coverage for the surrogate mother.
  • The certificate of eligibility is issued upon fulfilment of the following conditions by the intending couple:
    • (i) Indian citizens and are married for at least five years;
    • (ii) between 23 to 50 years old female and 26 to 55 years old male;
    • (iii) they do not have any surviving child (biological, adopted or surrogate); this would not include a child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from life threatening disorder or fatal illness. Other conditions may be specified by regulations.
  • Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother: To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to:
    • (i) be a close relative of the intending couple;
    • (ii) be an ever married woman having a child of her own;
    • (iii) be 25 to 35 years old;
    • (iv) be a surrogate only once in her lifetime; and
    • (iv) possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy.

Surrogacy Regulation bill : Surrogacy and Indian celebrities

  • Bollywood celebrities such as Tusshar Kapoor, Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan, Aamir and Kiran Rao Khan, and Sohail and Seema Sachdeva Khan have all turned to surrogates to get their offspring.
  • More recently Bollywood director cum producer Karan Johar blessed with twin children through surrogacy by single fatherhood.

Surrogacy Regulation bill : view of SC

  • Recently on Mar 7, a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi allowed a representation to be made before the parliamentary committee to consider including a “specific provision” in the Bill so as to facilitate single persons also to embrace parenthood through surrogacy.
  • The representation will be forwarded to the office of the Solicitor-General of India, who will formally hand it over to the legislative panel for consideration.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill

  • Along with Surrogacy Regulation Bill, central government also drafted Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, for regulation and supervision of Assisted Reproductive Technology(ART) clinics and banks in the country, prevention of misuse of ART including surrogacy, for safe and ethical practice of ART services.

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