Lok Sabha passes Surrogacy Bill

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 19, 2018

File photo of Lok Sabha in session | Photo Credit: PTI

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill aimed at regulating surrogacy in the country after a thorough, clause-by-clause discussion on the Bill. The arguments contesting various nuances of the bill lasted about an hour and a half before the way was paved for its passage. The Bill was introduced in the Lower House almost two years ago.

As the House convened post lunch, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda presented the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha.

Nadda also said that those who wish to opt for surrogacy will be required to submit their certificate of infertility within 90 days.

There was an argument over non-mention of same sex couples in the Bill, even though the Supreme Court has now legitimised same-sex relationships. “While male couples require a surrogate mother, female couples may not necessarily require surrogates, but we have to include them in the Bill,” said Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, a Member of the Lok Sabha from the All India Trinamool Congress. Dastidar also contested the concept of ‘fashion surrogacy,’ adopted by people in film the industry and said that the government must step in to keep unscruplous private clinics at bay from exploiting couples.

Bhartruhari Mahtab, a Member of the Lok Sabha from the Biju Janta Dal argued that the Bill does not clarify who the ‘close relative’ to the surrogate, is supposed to be. Gynaecologists in India had opposed the original Bill tooth and nail. Duru Shah, a senior Mumbai-based gynaecologist said that banning commercial surrogacy and promoting altruistic surrogacy may create an undue pressure on women who may not be in a position to negotiate becoming surrogates. “If a daughter-in-law is forced to become a surrogate for the daughter in the family, and she may not be able to say no, this leads to exploitation,” said Shah.

Another expert, Shivani Sachdev Gour, Director of SCI Healthcare said that no surrogate mothers were consulted before the Bill was passed.

In 2009, the Law Commission had recommended that a Bill be drafted to keep a check on commercial surrogacy.

Published on December 19, 2018
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