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Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2020: Progressive or Regressive?

Introduction


Surrogacy has always been a long-debated subject in India. The ethicality of borrowing a womb and the moral and legitimate complexities surrounding it have usually been subjected to challenge. The surrogacy law bill tries to regulate the exercise of Surrogacy with the aid of banning practices like womb hiring. It tries to establish a sensitive balance between the Rights of Infertile couples and the Surrogate mothers’ Human rights.

The Union Cabinet authorized the Surrogacy (regulation) bill after incorporating suggestions of a Rajya Sabha Select Committee.



Meaning


Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a female (the surrogate) holds a baby by getting pregnant on behalf of a couple, and then returns the infant to the Intended Parent(s) once it is born.

The Surrogacy (regulation) bill, 2019, was surpassed by the Lok Sabha on August 5, 2019. The Rajya Sabha, in its meeting held on November 21, 2019, followed a movement to refer the Bill to a Select Committee.


Modifications made to the Old bill through the Select Committee

  • It permits any “willing” lady to be a surrogate mom. (The 2019 bill had proposed that the most effective close relative of a couple may be a surrogate mother).

  • Deletion of the definition for “infertility”, mainly because of the incapability to conceive after 5 years of unprotected sex on the ground that it made a period too long for a couple to wait for a child.

  • It proposes to regulate Surrogacy Boards at National, state and UT levels.

  • The proposed insurance cover for surrogate mothers has been increased to 36 months from 16 months.

  • Commercial surrogacy such as sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes shall be prohibited.

  • The ethical surrogacy allowed only to Indian married couples, and Indian unmarried woman(widow or divorcee between the age of 35 and forty-five years would be best) will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions.


Global Practice on Surrogacy


In countries like the US and Argentina, surrogacy requests are decided by using independent surrogacy committees. In the UK, Denmark, South Africa, Australia, Canada and Greece, altruistic surrogacy is only authorized. The Commercial surrogacy is legally allowed in countries like Russia, Ukraine, and Thailand, while Surrogacy of all forms is banned in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Italy and Iceland.



Importance of the Modifications


The practice of surrogacy has persisted in India without any legal framework, operating only on the idea of indistinct hints. Now with the adjustments in the bill, a regulatory framework will be adopted to monitor surrogacy.

Nowadays, unethical practices such as the exploitation of surrogate moms, abandonment of kids born out of surrogacy and the import of human embryos and gametes have been reported. Many poor women in India were taken to be surrogate moms relentlessly, regardless of grave implications to their health.

With the banning of Commercial surrogacy and with the provision of insurance for 36 months, the exploitation of surrogate mothers will be checked and there might be upgrades of their fitness.

{(Law Commission in its 228th report (2009)} had recommended that surrogacy is to be regulated through suitable rules. The law commission strongly recommends that simplest altruistic surrogacy to be allowed and commercial surrogacy should be completely banned)}.

Limiting the surrogate mother to “close relative” had affected the availability of surrogate mothers. Now with the new bill, a “willing woman” shall act as a surrogate mom.

Now widows and divorced women can also benefit from the provisions, except for the infertile Indian couples.


Functions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020

  • It presents for the constitution of surrogacy boards at the national as well as state level to make powerful law.

  • It seeks to permit moral altruistic surrogacy to the proceeding infertile Indian married couple between the age of 23-50 years for women and 26-55 years for males.

  • Only Indian couples can opt for surrogacy in the country.

  • It makes it mandatory for the couple to acquire a certificate of essentiality and a certificate of eligibility before going ahead with surrogacy.

  • It also mandates that proceeding couples should not abandon the child born out of surrogacy underneath any circumstance. The newborn infant will be entitled to all rights and privileges which every natural child has.

  • The bill seeks to alter the functioning of surrogacy clinics. All surrogacy clinics inside the USA need to be registered with the aid of the best authority that allows you to adopt surrogacy or its related strategies.

  • The bill gives for diverse safeguards like Insurance coverages for surrogate mothers.

  • It specifies that no intercourse can be executed on the subject of surrogacy.

Conclusion


The Surrogacy (Regulation) bill, 2020 is ethical, moral and social legislation important to protect the reproductive rights of a surrogate mother as well as protects the rights of the child born through surrogacy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charu Sharma is currently pursuing law at Banasthali Vidyapith.

They can be contacted at sharmacharu650@gmail.com

Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair.

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