Lok Sabha passes Bill prohibiting commercial surrogacy
02, Dec 2018
Prelims level : Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 & Provisions Mains level : Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
Why in News?
- The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 that ensures effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibits commercial surrogacy and allows altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian infertile couples was passed by the Lok Sabha by a voice vote.
- Once the Bill is enacted by the Parliament, the National Surrogacy Board will be constituted. The States and Union Territories will constitute the State Surrogacy Board and State Appropriate Authorities within three months of the notification by the Union Government.
- The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy; makes commercial surrogacy, its advertisement, and exploitation of the surrogate mother a punishable offence with imprisonment for 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.
Provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016:
- The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile.
- It permits surrogacy only for couples who cannot conceive a child.
- The surrogate mother has to be a ‘close relative’ of the intending couple.
- No payment other than reasonable medical expenses can be made to the surrogate mother.
- The surrogate child will be considered as the biological child of the intending couple.
- Singles, homosexuals and live-in couples cannot apply for surrogacy. Besides, couples who already have children will also not be allowed to opt for surrogacy.
- The Bill entitles only Indian citizens to avail of surrogacy, whereas foreigners, NRIs and PIOs are not allowed to commission surrogacy in the country.
- Central and state governments will appoint appropriate authorities to grant eligibility certificates to the intending couple and the surrogate mother.
Eligibility conditions for surrogacy:
- The Bill specifies eligibility conditions that need to be fulfilled by the intending couple in order to commission surrogacy.
- The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile. It permits surrogacy only for couples who cannot conceive a child.
- Surrogacy is not allowed in case of any other medical conditions which could prevent a woman from giving birth to a child.
- The surrogate mother has to be a ‘close relative’ of the intending couple who has been married and has had a child of her own. The Bill does not define the term ‘close relative’.
- The surrogate mother and the intending couple need eligibility certificates from the appropriate authority.
- The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority. The surrogate mother too needs a ‘certificate of eligibility’.
- The Bill does not specify a time limit within which such certificates will be granted. It also does not specify an appeal process in case the application is rejected.
- The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, makes it a punishable offence.