Prelims level : Governance - Policies Mains level : GS-II Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
No Set Found with this ID

Why in News?

  • The Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 recently recommended that a surrogate mother need not be a “close relative”.
  • It also advocated omission of the five-year time limit before seeking surrogacy.

Provisions of the Bill:

What is Prohibited?

  • The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows Altruistic Surrogacy.
    • Altruistic surrogacy, involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
    • Commercial surrogacy includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.

When Surrogacy is Permitted?

  • Surrogacy is permitted when it is:
    • for intending couples who suffer from Proven Infertility;
    • altruistic;
    • not for commercial purposes;
    • not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation; and
    • for any condition or disease specified through regulations.
  • The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.

When the Certificate is Issued?

  • A certificate of essentiality will be issued upon fulfilment of the following conditions:
    • a certificate of proven infertility of one or both members of the intending couple from a District Medical Board;
    • an order of parentage and custody of the surrogate child passed by a Magistrate’s court; and
    • Insurance coverage for a period of 16 months covering postpartum delivery complications for the surrogate.
  • The certificate of eligibility to the intending couple is issued upon fulfillment of the following conditions:
    • the couple being Indian citizens and married for at least five years;
    • between 23 to 50 years old (wife) and 26 to 55 years old (husband);
    • they do not have any surviving child (biological, adopted or surrogate); this would not include a child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from life threatening disorder or fatal illness; and
    • Other conditions that may be specified by regulations.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for Surrogate Mother?

  • To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to be:
    • a close relative of the intending couple;
    • a married woman having a child of her own;
    • 25 to 35 years old;
    • a surrogate only once in her lifetime; and
    • Possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy. Further, the surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.

What is the function of Appropriate Authority?

  • The central and state governments shall appoint one or more appropriate authorities within 90 days of the Bill becoming an Act.
  • The functions of the appropriate authority include;
    • granting, suspending or cancelling registration of surrogacy clinics;
    • enforcing standards for surrogacy clinics;
    • investigating and taking action against breach of the provisions of the Bill;
    • Recommending modifications to the rules and regulations.
  • Surrogacy clinics cannot undertake surrogacy related procedures unless they are registered by the appropriate authority.
  • Clinics must apply for registration within a period of 60 days from the date of appointment of the appropriate authority.

What is the function of the Surrogacy Boards?

  • The central and the state governments shall constitute the National Surrogacy Board (NSB) and the State Surrogacy Boards (SSB), respectively.
  • Functions of the NSB include, (i) advising the central government on policy matters relating to surrogacy; (ii) laying down the code of conduct of surrogacy clinics; and (iii) supervising the functioning of SSBs.

What is the procedure for the Parentage and abortion of surrogate child?

  • A child born out of a surrogacy procedure will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.
  • An abortion of the surrogate child requires the written consent of the surrogate mother and the authorisation of the appropriate authority.
  • This authorisation must be compliant with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
  • Further, the surrogate mother will have an option to withdraw from surrogacy before the embryo is implanted in her womb.

What are the Offences and penalties?

  • The offences under the Bill include:
    • undertaking or advertising commercial surrogacy;
    • exploiting the surrogate mother;
    • abandoning, exploiting or disowning a surrogate child; and
    • Selling or importing human embryo or gametes for surrogacy.
  • The penalty for such offences is imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to 10 lakh rupees.
  • The Bill specifies a range of offences and penalties for other contraventions of the provisions of the Bill.

What are the recommendations of the committee?

  • The major changes recommended by the Committee include
  • It recommended that a surrogate mother need not be a “close relative”.
  • It also advocated omission of the five-year time limit before seeking surrogacy.
  • allowing single women (widow or a divorcee and Persons of Indian Origin) to avail of surrogacy,
  • Increasing insurance cover for the surrogate mother from the 16 months proposed in the Bill to 36 months.

Why such Recommendations Needed?

  • Requiring the surrogate mother to be a “close relative” potentially restricts the availability of surrogate mothers, affecting genuinely needy persons.
  • Deleting the definition of “infertility” as “the inability to conceive after five years of unprotected intercourse” is because it is too long a period for a couple to wait for a child.
  • However the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 is yet to be passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Share Socially