New Delhi/Nagpur: External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj explains the new surrogacy bill. Childless couples cannot hire surrogate mothers or ask anyone but close relatives to carry their babies, says a draft law cleared by the government today. Excerpts…
“There will be a complete ban on commercial surrogacy. Childless couples, who are medically unfit to have children, can take help from a close relative, which is called altruistic surrogacy,” Union Minister Sushma Swaraj told reporters after a cabinet meeting in which the surrogacy law was cleared.
“The Bill comes as India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples and incidents reported on unethical practices. The Bill will prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical surrogacy to needy infertile couples.
“If you have a biological child, or an adopted child then altruistic surrogacy won’t be allowed. This has been decided so that there’s no different treatment for the two kids while they’re being raised, or later to avoid fights over property.
“Single parents, homosexual couples, live-in relationships couples will not be allowed altruistic surrogacy.
“Altruistic surrogacy will only be allowed for Indian citizens, not NRIs or OCI card holders.
“National Surrogacy Board at central level, State Surrogacy Boards in State & UTs will be formed.
“Jo cheez zaroorat ke naam pe shuru ki gayi thi woh ab shauk ban gayi hai,” the minister said.
Swaraj commented that “celebrities are having surrogate babies, in spite of having two children, they had a third, just because the wife couldn’t take the pain, and got someone else to bear their child.”
Couple who get help from their relatives can only pay medical expenses. It is also yet to be defined who qualifies as a close relative.
Swaraj said it had been decided that foreigners would not be allowed to have surrogate babies from India, not even overseas Indians. “We have had cases of girls being abandoned, a twin being left behind and disabled babies being rejected,” the minister explained.
The draft bill, which aims at protecting the rights of surrogate mothers, will be introduced in parliament in the winter session.
No new surrogacy clinic will be allowed and a new board which will be set up to monitor surrogacy cases.
A draft bill which aims to safeguard the rights of surrogate mothers and make parentage of such children legal was today cleared by the Union
According to the Health Ministry proposal, the draft Surrogacy Bill, 2016 aims at regulating commissioning of surrogacy in the country in a proper manner.
Official sources said the Cabinet gave its green signal to the Bill to be introduced in Parliament.
A Group of Ministers (GoM) had recently cleared the bill and had referred it to the Union Cabinet for a final call.
The GoM was constituted at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office.