Union Cabinet approves the Surrogacy Bill

The Cabinet gave the Surrogacy Bill (2016) a nod on Wednesday. Only “altruistic surrogacy” for childless couples is allowed. When a surrogate receives no finances for carrying the child it is altruistic surrogacy. Parents can take care of the medical expenses.

The health ministry has proposed to amend surrogacy laws in India since the commercial surrogacy industry is increasing manifold. The commercial surrogacy industry is at around $1 billion a year and growing. The government has proposed to ban commercial surrogacy. Lets look at what the bill says.

1. Foreigners, homosexual couples, singles and live-in partners cannot opt for surrogacy.

India has become a popular destination for people wanting to have children using surrogate mothers. Most services are comparatively cheaper in India and hence is a preferable option.

2. Surrogacy for infertile couples is legalized.

Hence couples must have proved that either or both of them are infertile.

3. Infertile couples must be married for at least 5 years.

Couples are eligible for surrogacy only after 5 years of marriage. In addition to this, the woman must be between 23-50 years of age and the man must be between 26-55.

4. Parents cannot pay the surrogate.

Parents can’t pay her for being the surrogate mother but can take care of her medical bills and expenses.

5. The surrogate mother should be a “close relative”.

If you find a surrogate who is willing to carry your child without any pay, the couple must make sure that it is a close relative.

The parents as well as the surrogate mother will be allowed surrogacy only once. If the couple already has a child through surrogacy they can’t opt for second surrogacy. The mother cannot be a surrogate for the second time.

External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj slammed celebrities for making surrogacy ‘fashion’. “We have several examples of big celebrities who have their own children, two children — a boy and a girl — still they have gone for a surrogate child,” she said. Homosexuals and live-in partners can’t opt for surrogacy since they do not have legal identity in India. They can go for adoption is what she said. The Health minister will head the National Surrogacy Board in India. The Board will look after all the cases of surrogacy in India and regulations of the Surrogacy Bill.

It is true that people with no need for a child are also opting for surrogacy. If any individual wishes to have a child, adoption is always a noble and convenient option. It is imperative that people realize their folly. The bill has gathered mixed reviews. Do let me know what you think about the Surrogacy Bill!

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