The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 that aims to prohibit commercial surrogacy in India will be passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Bill had been passed by the last Lok Sabha too -- but lapsed after dissolution of the House.
The Cabinet had approved the introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, on July 3.
Surrogacy is a method of reproduction whereby a woman agrees to get pregnated with a fertilised egg (ovum and sperm) and deliver a child for infertile couples.
It is of two types -- ‘traditional’ and ‘gestational’.
Traditional surrogacy is done via Artificial Insemination (AI), with the surrogate using her own egg and another man's sperm.
Gestational surrogacy is done via IVF, where fertilised eggs from another woman are implanted into the surrogate's uterus. This gives the couple a chance to raise a child that is genetically their own.
ABOUT THE BILL
The 228th report of the Commission of India recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy by enacting suitable legislation. To this end, the Bill was introduced.
The purpose of the Bill is to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy by prohibiting commercial surrogacy. It proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in the state and Union Territories.
The Bill will also prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy. "No permanent structure is proposed to be created in the draft Bill. Accordingly, there will not be any financial implications, except for the meetings of the National at Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities, which will be met out of the administrative budgets of respective departments," the government had said.
BOON OR BANE?
Several infertile couples, who have for long, longed to have a child of their own, are scared for their life. They are accusing the government of being insensitive towards women and their desire to have children of their own.
One of the factors that make surrogacy highly contentious is the cost involved. The government, hence, wants to regulate non-commercial or ‘altruistic surrogacy’ and allows only close relatives to act as surrogates.
But many feel it will become extremely difficult to find a relative willing to help especially despite the know that there wouldn't be any monetary benefits.
This can also lead the two parties to resort to unfair means of monetary transactions to carry out the deal.
The Bill also says the surrogate mother should be in the age group of 25-35 years and she should have had a child of her own -- which cannot be true for many women who would want to act as surrogate.
Registration of the surrogate can be another issue. Non-disclosure of the surrogate's identity is the primary condition of having the procedure done, and no surrogate would want to reveal her identity anyway.
The registration process using the aadhaar number can, hence, prove to be a major reason of women not coming forward to help childless couples.
A THOUGHT THOUGH
The government can fix the amount of money to be paid to surrogate mothers. Ths will put an end to the exploitation they are sometimes subjected to in terms of payment.