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8/31/2016

WhytheSurrogacyBillisnecessaryTheHindu

OPINIONCOMMENT

August28,2016

WhytheSurrogacyBillisnecessary
SoumyaSwaminathan

Photo:SpecialArrangement
Adoptionisanunderutilisedoptionthatcannotonlygivehappinesstoachildlesscouplebutalsoprovideafutureforanorphanchild
Surrogacyiswhenawomancarriesababyforanothercoupleandgivesupthebabyatbirth.Inthepastdecade,commercialsurrogacyhas
growntremendouslyinIndia.Itiscurrentlyestimatedtobea$2billionindustry.BeforeNovember2015,whenthegovernmentimposeda
ban,foreignersaccountedfor80percentofsurrogacybirthsinthecountry.Thisisbecausemostcountries,barringafewsuchasRussia,
UkraineandsomeU.S.states,donotpermitcommercialsurrogacy.ManycountriesinEuropehavecompletelyprohibitedsurrogacy
arrangements,bothtoprotectthereproductivehealthofthesurrogatemotheraswellasthefutureofthenewbornchild.
Thetrigger
Thedebatebeganwhen,in2008,aJapanesedoctorcouplecommissionedababyinasmalltowninGujarat.Thesurrogatemothergavebirth
toahealthybabygirl.Bythenthecouplehadseparatedandthebabywasbothparentlessandstateless,caughtbetweenthelegalsystemsof
twocountries.ThechildisnowinhergrandmotherscustodyinJapanbuthasnotobtainedcitizenship,assurrogacyisnotlegalinJapan.
In2012,anAustraliancouplewhohadtwinsbysurrogacy,arbitrarilyrejectedoneandtookhometheother.Asinglemotheroftwofrom
Chennaidecidedtobecomeasurrogatemotherinthehopethatthepaymentwouldhelpherstartashopnearherhouse.Shedelivereda
healthychild,butherhopesborelittlefruitforherself.ShereceivedonlyaboutRs.75,000,withanautorickshawdriverwhoservedasa
middleman,takinga50percentcut.Afterrepayingtheloans,shedidnothaveenoughmoney.OnJanuary29,2014,26yearoldYuma
Sherpadiedintheaftermathofasurgicalproceduretoharvesteggsfromherbody,aspartoftheeggdonationprogrammeofaprivateclinic
basedinNewDelhi.
Theseincidentshighlightthetotaldisregardfortherightsofthesurrogatemotherandchildandhaveresultedinanumberofpublicinterest
litigationsintheSupremeCourttocontrolcommercialsurrogacy.The228threportoftheLawCommissionofIndiaalsorecommended
prohibitingcommercialsurrogacyandallowingethicalaltruisticsurrogacytoneedyIndiancitizensbyenactingasuitablelegislation.
TheSurrogacy(Regulation)Bill,2016proposestoregulatesurrogacyinIndiabypermittingitasanoptionforcoupleswhocannotnaturally
havechildren,havealackofotherassistedreproductivetechnologyoptions,arekeentohaveabiologicalchild,andcanfindasurrogate
motheramongtheirrelatives.Altruisticsurrogacy,whichmeansanarrangementwithouttransferoffundsasinducement,iscurrently
practisedinsomecentresinIndia,thoughthemajorityofsurrogacycentresusewomenwhoarepaidfortheirservices.Thechildborn
throughsurrogacywillhavealltherightsofabiologicalchild.Indianinfertilecouplesbetweentheagesof2350years(woman)and2655
(man)whohavebeenmarriedforfiveyearsandwhodonothaveasurvivingchildwillbeeligibleforsurrogacy.Thesurrogatemothershould
beacloserelativeoftheintendingcoupleandbetweentheagesof2535yearsandshallactasasurrogatemotheronlyonceinherlifetime.
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/oped/whythesurrogacybillisnecessary/article9040755.ece

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8/31/2016

WhytheSurrogacyBillisnecessaryTheHindu

ImplementationwillbethroughthenationalandStatesurrogacyboards.Anyestablishmentfoundundertakingcommercialsurrogacy,
abandoningthechild,exploitingthesurrogatemother,sellingorimportingahumanembryoshallbepunishablewithimprisonmentfora
termnotbelessthan10yearsandwithafineuptoRs.10lakh.Registeredsurrogacyclinicswillhavetomaintainallrecordsforaminimum
periodof25years.
Thinkadoption
WhileinfertilityisagrowingprobleminIndia,therearemanydifferentwaysofmakingafamily.Adoptionisanunderutilisedoptionthatcan
notonlygivehappinesstoachildlesscouplebutalsoprovideahomeandafutureforanorphanchild.WhiletheBillwillnowbeplaced
beforeParliamentandthedetailsdebated,thebasictenetofdisallowingcommercialsurrogacyisatitsheart,andwillremain.
Dr.SoumyaSwaminathanisDirectorGeneral,IndianCouncilofMedicalResearch.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/oped/whythesurrogacybillisnecessary/article9040755.ece

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