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Surrogacy Bill detached from reality: Parliamentary panel

Aesha Datta New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 13, 2017

surrogacy

Report criticises govt’s proposal on ‘altruistic’ surrogacy

Keeping live-in partners out of the purview of legal surrogacy indicates that the proposed Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, “is not in consonance with the present day modern social milieu,” a report on the Bill placed before the Rajya Sabha on Thursday said.

While the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare did not touch on the controversial issue of disallowing homosexual couples or single parents from availing surrogate services, it has come down hard on the exclusion of divorced or widowed women and live-in couples.

“Surrogacy is one of the least used options by childless Indians. If all these categories are to be banned then why have surrogacy at all.

The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Department should broad base the eligibility criteria in this regard and widen the ambit of persons who can avail surrogacy services by including live-in couples, divorced women/widows,” the report said.

The committee has also taken a strong view against allowing only “altruistic” surrogacy by a “close relative”, which could potentially open up other forms of exploitation against surrogate mothers.

“Permitting women to provide reproductive labour for free to another person but preventing them from being paid for their reproductive labour is grossly unfair and arbitrary,” the committee noted on the issue of banning commercial surrogacy and allowing only “altruistic” surrogacy, calling the rule “paternalistic.”

It added: “In the altruistic arrangement, the commissioning couple gets a child; and doctors, lawyers and hospitals get paid. However, the surrogate mothers are expected to practice altruism without a single penny” despite risking their health and lives and facing loss of remuneration during the period.

Against global practice

The report noted that “altruistic surrogacy across the world means compensated surrogacy and a range of monetary payments to surrogate mothers are permitted as reasonable compensation.”

Further, the committee also noted that in a patriarchal societal system, allowing only “altruistic” surrogacy is likely to leave dependent women in the families vulnerable.

And the pre-condition also violates the basic rights of privacy, as well as reproductive autonomy, of the couple intending to become parents through surrogacy, the report said.

Published on August 13, 2017
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