A thriving ‘industry’


An Act to constitute National Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Board, State Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Boards and appointment of appropriate authorities for regulation of the practice and process of surrogacy and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This Act may be called the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021. Five months after the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act came into force, the Health Ministry has notified the rules governing surrogate pregnancies. Among other things, the rules make it mandatory for couples who wish to become parents to buy three-year health insurance for surrogate mothers. It's estimated that up to 15 per cent Indian couples - a total of around three crore couples - are afflicted with infertility, and many of them are seeking treatment. More and more of them are opting for surrogacy, and the strictest, most watertight rules must be framed to protect the rights of all individuals involved - the surrogate mother, the baby and the couple seeking a child.
The rules also stipulate that 'the number of attempts of any surrogacy procedure on the surrogate mother shall not be more than three', and the mother be allowed abortion during surrogacy in case of a complication. Strict rules have been framed to regulate private surrogacy clinics, which must have a team of specialist doctors and counsellors. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act bars commercial surrogacy, permitting surrogacy only for altruistic purposes, in the cases of couples suffering from infertility or disease; however, it's a well-documented fact that vulnerable young women are being used as surrogate mothers across India, often without complete knowledge of the implications of surrogacy. There are complex ethical questions related to surrogacy, and the possibility of breaking or bending the law acquires severe moral implications. Before commercial surrogacy was barred by law this year, surrogacy had become a thriving 'industry' in India, and Gujarat had become a hub of its commercial exploitation - Anand was called India's 'surrogacy capital'. Activists and opposition parties have made a strong case for the right of surrogate mothers to gain commercially through the 'service' they offer, but the new law permits only altruistic surrogacy. Though the debate on barring commercial surrogacy has not ended, the law enacted this year and the new rules notified this week are a step in the right direction. The subject is complex and still in development.

Share This Story

Comment On This Story


Photo Gallery

BSE Sensex
NSE Nifty