Surrogacy: Draft law ready to protect rights of child, mother

Government is moving fast to regulate the booming business of surrogacy in the country and planning to make any violation of the rights of the child and the mother a cognisable offence.

A draft legislation to protect social, medical and ethical rights of infertile couples and of children born out of the arrangement has been finalised.

The Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation (ART) Bill, sent to the Law Ministry for approval, makes violation of stakeholder rights a cognisable offence and provides for upto five year imprisonment and a hefty fine as deterrent punishment.

Sources in the Health Ministry said the revised bill was intended to be tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament as the final draft law along with a cabinet note had been submitted to the Law Ministry for vetting.

"The new Bill bars those infertile foreigners from hiring surrogacy services in India whose countries don't permit surrogacy," Secretary Medical Research V M Katoch said.

The law also mandates an undertaking from service seeking foreigners that the child born through ART in India would get the citizenship of the foreign country, he said.

Most European countries like France and Germany don't permit commercial surrogacy nor do Japan and Australia, while UK permits only altruistic surrogacy which means women are allowed to offer wombs for humanitarian causes and not monetary gains.

In the past, several children born to foreigners through Indian surrogate mothers have been at the receiving end after Indian courts refused to recognise them as Indian citizens.

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