It was not talked about but when celebrity couples from Indian film industry – Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan, and Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao have opted surrogacy as an alternative option of having a baby, the concept of surrogacy in India came in news and is now gaining all sort of attention. Surrogacy is a boon to childless couples and even for couples who already have children but cannot have more biological children because of one or other reason. Lesser known, but the reproductive industry in India has also been attracting infertile couples from all across the world owing to its low cost and relaxed laws. In India the complete process of surrogacy cost about $25,000 as compared to $100,000 in the US.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a sort of agreement in which a woman accepts to bear and deliver a child of another person or couple for a fee. In this a previously formed embryo is transferred into her womb.
Scenario of surrogacy in India
In India commercial surrogacy was legalized in 2002 but still it is unregulated as India does not have any legislation to control surrogacy. For regulation purposes very simple guidelines have been set forth by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The surrogate mother and a couple sign a contract but there are no stipulations in case of violation of the contract. Like who will take care of the baby in case of sudden demise of the parents, medical insurance of a surrogate mother, financial support and so on. In India only ‘gestational surrogacy’ is legal in which the surrogate mother contributes with her womb only.
The first and the foremost question comes to most of us is about the attachment of surrogate mother to the child. Also many other concerns like claims made by surrogate mother to have a baby after birth if she is biologically connected to the child. For this the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has laid down surrogacy guidelines as per which the surrogate mother should not be biologically connected to the child and one of the parents should be biologically connected to the child.
Guidelines for surrogacy by the Indian Council for Medical Research
In order to standardize Assisted Reproductive Technology procedures, the Indian Council for Medical Research have given guidelines in 2005. The Law Commission of India has made certain observations which are as follow:
Surrogacy is a sort of contract between surrogate mother and other party. Surrogate mother will bear the child and hand it over to the other party just after the birth.
Surrogacy contract would take care of the life insurance cover of the surrogate mother.
One of the parents who want to have a surrogate child should be a donor to have a biological relationship with the child.
Right to privacy of donor and the surrogate mother should be looked after.
In India sex based surrogacy is not legal.
The birth certificate of the surrogate child would contain the name of the commissioning parents only and not of the surrogate mother.
As per the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2010 that is still waiting for a nod of Parliament, a woman acting as a surrogate mother should be between 21 and 35 years of age. No woman can act as a surrogate mother who has already given birth to five children including her own.
Parents who are physically or medically unfit to carry a baby to a full term can opt to have a surrogate child and there is no limit on the number of babies that one can have through surrogacy.