Surrogacy Bill bans commercial surrogacy

The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has cleared the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, which intends to ban commercial surrogacy and restricts it to Indians living in India.

The Bill will regulate surrogacy in India by establishing the National Surrogacy Board at the Centre and state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in states and Union Territories, an official press release said. “The legislation will ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy, and allow ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples.”

All infertile Indian married couple who want to avail ethical surrogacy will be benefited. Further, the rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy will be protected. The Bill shall apply to whole of India, except Jammu & Kashmir.

The major benefits of the Act would be the regulation of surrogacy services in the country, said the release. “While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited, including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples will be allowed on fulfillment of certain conditions and for specific purposes. As such, it will control the unethical practices in surrogacy, prevent commercialization of surrogacy, and will prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.”

Explaining the rationale for the proposed legislation, the official release said that India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries and there have been reported incidents concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy, and rackets of intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes. Widespread condemnation of commercial surrogacy prevalent in India has also been regularly published in different print- and electronic media in the last few years, highlighting the need to prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical altruistic surrogacy.

The 228th report of the Law Commission of India also recommended for prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian citizens by enacting a suitable legislation, the release said.