Surrogacy regulation Bill introduced in Rajya Sabha

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News: The government has introduced the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha.

Facts:

Surrogacy and its Types:

  • Surrogacy: It is an arrangement often supported by legal agreements, whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child for an intending couple, who will become the parents of the child.
  • Commercial Surrogacy: It includes compensation (in cash or kind) paid to the surrogate mother, which exceeds the reasonable medical expenses associated with the pregnancy
  • Altruistic Surrogacy: It involves an arrangement where the couple does not pay the surrogate mother any compensation other than the medical and insurance expenses related to the pregnancy

About Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019

Aim: To regulate the practice and process of surrogacy in India

Objectives:

  • Ensure the effective regulation of surrogacy,
  • Prohibit commercial surrogacy
  • Allow ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy infertile Indian couples on the fulfillment of conditions.
  • Prohibition of exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy

Key Provisions:

  • Prohibition of Commercial Surrogacy: The bill puts a complete ban on commercial surrogacy. It also bans surrogacy for producing children for sale, prostitution and other forms of exploitation.
  • Permitted Purposes of Surrogacy: It allows altruistic surrogacy for intending couples who have proven infertility.
  • Eligibility criteria for intending couple: An intending couple should have a ‚Äúcertificate of essentiality‚ÄĚ issued by the appropriate authority upon fulfilling the following criteria:
    • Indian citizenship and married for at least 5 years
    • Aged between 23 to 50 years old (wife) and 26 to 55 years old (husband)
    • should not have any surviving child (biological, adopted or surrogate) {Exception: a child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from life-threatening disorder or fatal illness}
  • Eligibility Criteria for surrogate mother:
    • A close relative of the intending couple
    •  Married; having a child of her own
    • Aged 25-35 years
    • A surrogate only once in her lifetime
    • Possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy
  • Formation of National and State Surrogacy Boards: 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.
  • Parentage of the surrogate child: It states that any child born out of a surrogacy procedure shall be the biological child of the intending couple. Also, the child will be entitled to all rights and privileges that are available to a natural child
  • Abortion of Surrogate Child: It states that in case of abortion of the surrogate child, written consent of the surrogate mother is mandatory. Also, there must be an authorization from appropriate authorities, in compliance with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
  • Offenses and Penalties: Any form of monetary transactions in the name of surrogacy has been made a criminal offense. It imposes a fine of up to Rs. 10 lakh and imprisonment of up to 10 years for the following offenses:
    • Advertisement of the act of commercial surrogacy.
    • Exploitation of the surrogate mother.
    • Exploiting or abandoning the surrogate child.
    • Sale and Import gametes or human embryos.

Additional Information:

  • To date, commercial surrogacy has been held legal in India as per the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Baby Manaji vs. Union of India (2008)