Commercial surrogacy will be illegal soon and only close relatives to be allowed to act as surrogates, as per the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, which was recently introduced in the Lok Sabha, the Lower House.
Provisions of the Bill include the constitution of surrogacy boards at national and state levels, as well as seizing the rights from intended couples to abandon surrogated child under any condition.
As per the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill, introduced on Monday by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan, only Indian couples who have been legally married for at least five years would be allowed to opt for surrogacy
The bill seeks to “allow ethical altruistic surrogacy to the intending infertile Indian married couple between the age of 23-50 years and 26-55 years for female and male, respectively”.
A woman should be allowed to act as a surrogate mother only once and should be a close relative of the intending couple and “should be an ever married woman having a child of her own and between the age of 25-35 years”.
According to the statement, India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries for the past few years.
“Due to lack of legislation to regulate surrogacy, the practice of surrogacy has been misused by surrogacy clinics, which leads to rampant commercial surrogacy and unethical practices…,” it noted.
The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in December, 2018 but lapsed as it could not get the nod from Parliament.