Surrogacy – A comprehensive analysis – Today Current Affairs
What is surrogacy?
The bill defines surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child. There is also 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 child to term and delivers it.
Today Current Affairs
Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021
- Proposes complete ban on commercial surrogacy and allow only altruistic surrogacy. So, under no circumstance’s money shall be paid to her, except for medical expenses including insurance (36 months).
- Only Indian married couple, foreigners with Indian spouse, and divorcee or widow single women would be allowed. The Hindu Analysis
- It allows single women including divorcees and widows to become surrogate mother.
- Setting up of a regulatory body at centre and state level.
- They have to take the child irrespective of any deformity at birth.
Eligibility conditions to make use of the services of a surrogate mother : The Hindu Analysis
- Any couple that has ‘proven infertility’.
- The couple should be Indian citizens who have been married for at least five years.
- The female must be between 23 to 50 years and the male, 26 to 55 years.
- They cannot have any surviving children (biological, adopted or surrogate); However, this would not include a ‘child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from life threatening disorder or fatal illness.’
Why legislation in this regard is necessary? The Hindu Analysis
The 228th report of the Law Commission of India has also recommended for prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian citizens by enacting a suitable legislation.
Current Mechanism : The Hindu Analysis
- At present, the surrogacy business functions under the regulatory guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- India offers one of the best fertility ‘packages’ in the world. Intending parents can get a fertility visa and get their IVF procedures done, hire healthy surrogates, return home, and monitor the entire pregnancy from there. They can also get proper exit visas to take the children home. This all is done on written contract basis.
Reason for increasing surrogacy : The Hindu Analysis
- Most of the surrogate mothers are poor and middle class women.
- Comparatively low cost of medical services, easy availability of surrogate mothers and lack of laws to regulate it.
Egg donation: Egg donation is legal in India under which the women gets around 25000 for one egg. Donations has to be carefully managed and properly spaced but unfortunately, due to exigencies for money and usually due to no information about the side effects due to frequent ovarian stimulation, their exploitation happens.
Problems they face : The Hindu Analysis
- They face several hardships during the process, including ambiguous contracts, health concerns, exploitation by middle men or hospital authorities, lack of enforceability of contract by mothers due to their socio-economic vulnerability.
- Unregulated surrogacy leads to human trafficking also.
Pro and cons : The Hindu Analysis
- It could hamper the Medical tourism in india and can lead to substantial loss to the multi-billion industry.
- Govt. should have done something better for regulating this industry rather than banning. For example. Thailand, a popular destination for fertility tourism, suddenly banned commercial surrogacy. The result was chaos– A number of surrogates in various stages of pregnancy were left in limbo. Intending parents did not know how to collect their babies. Consequently, the surrogacy industry got pushed underground. Which made it even more derogatory.
- In many of the bigger and better organized fertility clinics, the surrogates are housed in special homes, given proper diet, medical check-ups and maintenance allowances. The only problem is absence of any regulating law and no proper statistic on IVF clinic or Surrogates.
What to be done? The Hindu Analysis
- The babies born through surrogacy whose citizenship and right to be protected by their biological parents should be of prime importance.
- For the intending parents, surrogacy is a boon which gives them the child they never could have. For this they are willing to pay good amount and willing to protect and nurture the surrogates.
- For the fertility specialists they have to be trained in better manner. The problem lies with the bogus embryologists and doctors, the agents and touts who lure and cheat surrogates, as well as intending parents. This should be curbed.s