The word surrogacy is becoming a catchphrase in the Indian households, especially after the introduction of Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha (RS) in the ongoing winter session of the Parliament. The widespread media coverage has not only raised the ears of the readers and listeners rather it has brought a ray of hope in the mind of many childless couples who have started thinking about getting a chance to become parents. Hot discussions on this issue and hue and cry of the media houses have enticed common people to reach the bottom of the matter.
Union government to change the law
The government of India has decided to tighten the screw on surrogacy law. Rajya Sabha members sought amendments in the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2019. Most of the members were on one platform to ban commercial surrogacy in India. The bill has given the legal permission to close relatives to become surrogates to couples who have been legally living as a husband and wife for the last five years. This bill has got a green signal from the lower house (Lok Sabha) in the monsoon session.
Infertility is going up
During the discussion on Wednesday in the Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh from the Congress party said that infertility is increasing in India and it often segregates couples in society. Even though the population is increasing, childless couples are stigmatized as a blot in the society, he said. The standing committee had recommended the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) bill to be taken up before the surrogacy bill.
Govt to check malpractices
The government is aiming through the bill to check the unethical practices and exploitation of surrogate mothers in the country. Another objective of the bill is to provide a chance to intending infertile Indian married couples between the age of 23-50 years and 26-55 years for female and male respectively to hire a genuine surrogate, who can carry their baby till the birth.
Carry baby for others
Surrogacy is a process where a woman gets pregnant intending to hand over the child to her client after giving birth. Earlier it was shown in reel life but now it is becoming common in real life too. Generally, she carries the baby of a couple or parents who are not able to conceive naturally and give birth to a baby – they are known as ‘intended parents’.
Two types of surrogacy
Surrogacy has two forms – traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. In the traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is used and is artificially inseminated, either by intended father or an anonymous donor. In this case, the child is genetically related to both the surrogate mother as well as intended father or an anonymous donor.
No motherhood for surrogate
Meanwhile, gestational surrogacy is different. Here the intended mother provides the egg and the same egg is fertilised through in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Then the embryo is transferred inside the surrogate mother who nurtures the pregnancy in her womb. In this situation, the child is genetically related to the woman who donated the egg. But the child will have no relationship with the surrogate.
India a cheap destination
India is famous all over the world for cheap labour and high-quality work. Therefore, multinational companies look forward to investing money in India and earn the maximum profit. Outsourcing from India is famous all over the world. So is the case with surrogacy, high cost of surrogacy has pushed in many potential parents from the US and other countries to move towards countries like India and Thailand. In these countries, cheaper options are available. Of late, India has turned a central point to attract surrogacy clients from countries like Britain, Australia, and Israel as well. At present, it is the cheapest destination for childless couples to fulfil their desire. It is needless to add that global surrogacy trade is not free from scandals and fraud.
The law of surrogacy varies from country to country. It is not legally allowed everywhere in the world. Some of the European countries like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Spain have prohibited all kinds of surrogacy, while UK, Ireland, Denmark and Belgium have allowed surrogacy, but it is not commercialised. Surrogate mothers are not paid, sometimes reasonable expenses are given.