New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to government on a PIL which sought ban on commercial surrogacy. The PIL filed by Jayashree Wad, an advocate on record in Supreme Court since 1976, alleged that commercial surrogacy is causing exploitation of poor women hence turning India into the world's surrogacy capital.
Notices were issued to ministries of home affairs, law and justice, health and family welfare, commerce and external affairs as well as the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The notice was issued by a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana and they were asked to respond to the PIL filed by Wad.
The petitioner said that due to the negligence of laws, foreign couples usually take undue advantage and import embryos and transplant them into Indian surrogate mothers hence exploiting women of lower and middle-class strata.
She said that since surrogacy in India is commercialized, it exploits the surrogate mother.
As published in a report by Times of India, the petitioner said, “These women who act as surrogate mothers render their services for a fee. In the process of surrogate motherhood, a commercial element is introduced and Indian women are exploited and substantial benefit is derived by doctors, hospitals and institutions involved in it. This amounts to exploitation of women for commercial gains.”
Wad also pointed towards a notification of December 2, 2013 according to which commerce ministry had allowed import of embryo as ‘goods'. She says that human embryo, which is a human in miniature form, cannot be termed as a ‘good' or ‘service'.
Hence, she urged that the notification being illegal should be quashed.
The PIL further said that the large-scale exploitation of surrogate mothers in India involves the danger of creating a section of Indian society which suffers mental trauma due to social conditions. It said that giving birth to a child causes a huge impact on a woman's body and mind due to biological and hormonal changes.
Hence, the PIL further said that in public interest, this practice should be termed as harmful and a source of introducing physical and mental trauma to women. It added that doctors, hospitals and institutions should also be prohibited from aiding, supporting or assisting surrogate motherhood.
The PIL further quoted the In-Vitrio Fertilization (IVF) clinic at Anand and said that a good number of foreigners visit the clinic in order to get a child through surrogacy on cheap price.