From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Surrogacy
Mains level : Surrogacy regulation in India
- The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 to ban commercial surrogacy in India.
- India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from other countries.
- There have been reports concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy, and rackets involving intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes.
- The 228th report of the Commission of India has recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy by enacting suitable legislation.
What is Surrogacy?
- Surrogacy is considered one of many assisted reproductive technologies.
- It is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child for another person(s) who is or will become the parent(s) of the child.
- People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically impossible, when pregnancy risks are too dangerous for the intended mother, or when a single man or a male couple wishes to have a child.
About the Bill
- The Bill proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and UTs.
- It aims to prohibit commercial surrogacy and allows surrogacy services only for married Indian couples who have no children.
Why such bill again?
- The Bill had been passed by the 16th Lok Sabha but lapsed after it did not clear the Rajya Sabha.
- There have been several reports about the exploitation of surrogate mothers, who are confined to “hostels” during pregnancy.
- They are not allowed to meet their families and were forced to do it for a paltry amount, putting their own bodies at risk.
- The benefits of the Act would be that it will regulate the surrogacy services in the country.
- While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the infertile couples will be allowed on fulfillment of conditions.
- It will also prohibit exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.
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