Surrogacy bill: make it realistic

Methods to regulate surrogacy and related practices, whereby childless persons hire the womb of a woman to carry and deliver their baby, have been actively discussed in the country for many years. This is because India has become a hub for surrogacy with people not only from the country but other countries too engaging women as surrogates. A whole system of clinics, doctors and other personnel and facilities has come up around it. There have been charges that many poor and ill-informed women are exploited, and that is why a regulatory framework for it was conceived. The Law Commission proposed a total ban on commercial surrogacy, which is surrogacy for a consideration, and supported only ‘’altruistic surrogacy’’. But a parliamentary committee opposed an outright ban, calling it too moralistic and violative of a woman’s freedom of choice. 

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha last week is aligned to the Law Commission’s view. It allows only ‘’close relatives’’ to become surrogate mothers and disallows any payment other than medical expenses. This is unrealistic and is based on a paternalistic view of family ties which is fast disappearing. It is difficult to imagine that a relative would be ready to carry a baby for nine months without a financial reward. If a woman finds it a means to earn an income the government should not deny it, and she has the right to decide what she should do with her body. It is not the idea of surrogacy but the malpractices that should be curbed and regulated. It is likely that such a restriction would push surrogacy underground and create a black market. The committee’s view that financially weak relatives may be coerced into surrogacy cannot be dismissed altogether and so exploitation may still continue. Many women’s groups have opposed the provisions of the bill. 

The bill allows surrogacy only to couples married for at least five years. It disallows it for couples in live-in relationships and for homosexuals. The Supreme Court has accepted live-in relationships as legal. The court has also decriminalised homosexuality. So why should these sections of people be denied the right to surrogacy? It amounts to discrimination. Many other countries do not have a legal ban on commercial surrogacy. This may lead to new ways of violation of the ban in India. In the Lok Sabha, some members made a demand to make the bill more liberal and realistic and to expand its scope. These demands and suggestions should be considered when the bill is introduced in the Rajya Sabha, and the wrong and unnecessary restrictions should be removed. 

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 1

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry

Comments:

Surrogacy bill: make it realistic

0 comments

Write the first review for this !