After facing massive uproar over the stringent measures introduced in the Surrogacy Bill, the government has decided to give in and is expected to relax some of the provisions, reports CNN News 18. The report cited “top sources” saying that the provisions are “likely to be amended”.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, 24 August, gave its nod to the introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 in Parliament, seeking a bar on unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexuals from opting for surrogacy.
According to the bill, only ‘altruistic’ surrogacy will be allowed in a regulated form for couples with infertility issues and only “close relatives” of couples seeking children will be allowed to be surrogate mothers, according to the bill. The bill also bars couples who already have one child, from opting for surrogacy.
As per the report in CNN News 18, the provision of one surrogacy per couple will be re-evaluated. The clause of only ‘close relatives’ as the surrogate mothers is also likely to be dropped.
While the revised surrogacy bill left many disappointed, Sushma Swaraj held the view that the proposed bill would check exploitation of poor women, especially in the rural and tribal areas and prevent “womb trade” — she lamented that the method had become a “fashion” for couples, especially celebrities.
Contrary to what has been rallied by the supporters of the new Bill, the surrogates are not an exploited lot, states Gita Aravamudan, in an article for Firstpost.
Though they might come from an economically weaker sections when compared to the commissioning parents, they view the process of becoming surrogate mothers as a job — means of earning money. According to Aravamudan, in their own way, the surrogate mothers are asserting their rights over their wombs
Having interviewed a significant number of surrogates, both inside and outside clinics and at various stages of their contractual commitment, Aravamudan maintains that only a handful few who have had bad experiences such as spontaneous abortions; most surrogate mothers expressed satisfaction with their experience.
The Bill Aravamudan argues, would do more justice if it addressed issues pertaining to the rights of the child and the surrogate mothers. Instead of banning law abiding citizens from becoming parents, the law should rather take a stringent approach in screening surrogacy applicants in terms of criminal records and dubious backgrounds. A proper and realistic age limit should be fixed for all the parties involved: the commissioning parents, the surrogates and the gamete donors. The surrogates should also be provided with insurance.