Surrogacy still feels like a taboo in the country, especially in the middle-class spectrum. However, commercial surrogacy has become a significant source of livelihood, mainly in the context of women living below the poverty line in India. It helps couples to have their child in case they or their partners are infertile.
Commercial surrogacy was legalised in India in 2002. However, it could not be denied that women who wanted to go ahead to become surrogate mothers came across various kinds of exploitation and immoral treatment.
India is home to more than 3000 such clinics, which provide for fertility. Additionally, Indian surrogates provide for the wealthy families and the upper-middle class of the country, and the clients of different affluent countries across the world. These countries include Australia, U.S.A, and many others.
In a recent development around it, the Union Government went ahead with the new Surrogacy(Regulation) Bill 2020 in February 2020. According to this bill, any woman can opt for becoming a surrogate mother.
In 2019, the Narendra Modi-led government gave life to the 2016 bill that puts a ban on the different kinds of commercial surrogacy. The only type that is excluded from this list is “Altruistic Surrogacy”.
Altruistic Surrogacy And New Recommendations
- Terms and Conditions Of Altruistic Surrogacy:
- It excludes any compensation for surrogates. However, it allows continuing payment for medical expenses and other insurances.
- It puts a limit to the process of surrogacy only for heterosexual couples between the age of 23-55. Additionally, the couple should be married for at least 5 years to move ahead with surrogacy. Besides, they should also be able to provide their certificates of infertility.
- Another condition is that only a relative of the couple in the age 25-35 can become a surrogate.
However, the government could not go ahead with these terms and conditions, and committees recommended various changes. The new recommendations said that widows and divorced women could also take benefit of the services of surrogacy. It also suggested that there should be no need for the certificate of infertility and 5 years waiting period. One of the most important recommendations by the 23-members committee was that any woman can become a surrogate. Insurance coverage should also extend to 36 months from the existing 16.
The union government approved these recommendations and it can become national law.
While one can take some positives from the new changes, questions still arise in mind. The law does not concentrate on providing a safe or protection for the surrogates. Additionally, it is looks discriminatory against the LGBTQIA+ community as it does not pay attention to their rights of availing the benefits of the same.
We have seen celebrities, including Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar, and Oprah Winfrey, support surrogacy. Now is the time to look at surrogacy and talk about it in open debates and stages.