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WHAT IS SURROGACY BILL


The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2019 was passed by the Lok Sabha on August 5, 2019. Once the Bill is enacted by Parliament, the central government shall notify the date the commencement of the Act. According to the provisions in the proposed Bill, commercial surrogacy will be prohibited. This includes sale and purchase of human embryos and gametes. Ethical surrogacy for needy couples will be allowed on fulfilment of stipulated conditions.
 
What is surrogacy?
 
Surrogacy is an arrangement wherein a surrogate mother bears and delivers a child for a couple or person. In gestational surrogacy, an embryo, which is fertilised by in vitro fertilisation, is implanted into the uterus of the surrogate mother who carries and delivers the baby. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is impregnated with the sperms of the intended father. Surrogacy may be commercial or altruistic.
 
What is Altruistic surrogacy
 
Altruistic surrogacy does not involve monetary considerations, except medical expenses and insurance.
 
What is commercial surrogacy?
 
In commercial surrogacy, the woman who gives birth to a child for the intending couple is rewarded for it in cash or kind.
 
Who can be guilty of commercial surrogacy?
 
According to the Bill, if an individual is found advertising or undertaking surrogacy, exploiting the surrogate mother, selling, importing, purchasing or trading human embryos or gametes for surrogacy, conducting sex selection for surrogacy, or has abandoned, exploited or disowned a surrogate child, he/she can be imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined of up to Rs 10 lakh.
 
Who can be a surrogate mother?
 
* A close relative of the couple
* A married woman with a child of her own, aged 25-35 (She can be a surrogate mother only once in her lifetime)
* Should be certified as medically and psychologically fit
 
The Surrogacy Bill bans homosexual couples, people in live-in relationships and single individuals from renting a womb.
 
When is surrogacy permitted?
 
According to the Bill, only altruistic surrogacy will be permitted in India, in cases where either one or both the members making up the couple suffer from infertility, of which the certificate of essentiality is proof. Additionally, a certificate of eligibility is issued to the intending couple and is proof that the couple has been married for at least five years, and are Indian citizens. The wife must be in the age group of 23-50, and the husband in the age group of 26-55.
 
The intending couple should not have any surviving biological child, through adoption or through surrogacy. An exception is made if the intending couple has a surviving child who is mentally or physically challenged, or is suffering from a fatal illness with no permanent cure.
 
Where can surrogacy procedures be carried out?
 
Only surrogacy clinics registered under the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2019 will be able to perform procedures related to surrogacy.
 
Important provisions
 
In case abortion of a surrogate foetus is considered, only the consent of the surrogate mother is required, according to the provisions under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The intending couple has no say in this decision. On the other hand, after being born, the child is considered to be the biological child of the intending couple.
 

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