With a view to checking exploitation of surrogate mothers, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016. As reported by Indian Express, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said that the Bill comes as India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples and incidents reported on unethical practices. She also stated that the Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy and allows ethical surrogacy to needy infertile couples. “It also prohibits Single parents, homosexual couples, live-in relationships couples to opt for altruistic surrogacy,” said Swaraj, as per Indian Express.
In India we have many unregistered clinics that run the rackets of Surrogacy by offering very little money to poor women in need and make thousands in foreign currency. The procedure of surrogacy is a very noble cause but many take advantage of the fact that in India there is no law to protect surrogate mothers or the children born under such circumstances. Commercial surrogacy is banned in most developed countries, including Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan and recently even Thailand joined the others.
As per Hindustan Times, under India’s new bill, couples that will abandon the baby will risk 10-year imprisonment and Rs 10 lakh fine, or both. It also makes it illegal for doctors to do procedures that might hurt the surrogate mother and the baby’s physical and mental health.
The details of the bill are however in favor of women and save them from any and all harassment that they might be subjected to on the name of Surrogacy. The new bill allows altruistic surrogacy, where a woman can carry someone else’s child as long as no money (other than medical cost and insurance), favours or coercion is involved, and excludes those who rent their wombs for money.
Many needy women see surrogacy as a way to earn money and end up carrying children for more than once if they are offered a good amount of money, however the bill strictly bars a woman from being a surrogate for more than once in her lifetime.
If the law is passed then under the new law, only infertile Indian couples, who have been married for at least five years can opt for surrogacy, but those who already have a child cannot do so.
After the Cabinet’s approval, the Bill will now be introduced in Parliament.
Feature Image Credit: Economic Times