Lok Sabha passed surrogacy regulation bill, 2019Date: 06 August 2019 Tags: Bills & Laws
Context: The Bill proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in the state and Union Territories
Definition of surrogacy: The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple
- The surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.
Regulation of surrogacy: The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
Purposes for which surrogacy is permitted: Surrogacy is permitted when it is: (i) for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility; (ii) altruistic; (iii) not for commercial purposes; (iv) not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation; and (v) for any condition or disease specified through regulations.
Eligibility criteria for intending couple: The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.
Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother: To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to be:
- A close relative of the intending couple
- A married woman having a child of her own
- 25 to 35 years old
- A surrogate only once in her lifetime
- Possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy
Registration of surrogacy clinics: Surrogacy clinics cannot undertake surrogacy related procedures unless they are registered by the appropriate authority.
National and State Surrogacy Boards: The central and the state governments shall constitute the National Surrogacy Board (NSB) and the State Surrogacy Boards (SSB), respectively.
Functions of the NSB include
- Advising the central government on policy matters relating to surrogacy
- Laying down the code of conduct of surrogacy clinic
- Supervising the functioning of SSBs
Parentage and abortion of surrogate child: A child born out of a surrogacy procedure will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple. An abortion of the surrogate child requires the written consent of the surrogate mother and the authorisation of the appropriate authority. This authorisation must be compliant with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. Further, the surrogate mother will have an option to withdraw from surrogacy before the embryo is implanted in her womb.
Offences : The offences under the Bill include:
- Undertaking or advertising commercial surrogacy
- Exploiting the surrogate mother
- Abandoning, exploiting or disowning a surrogate child
- Selling or importing human embryo or gametes for surrogacy
Penalties: The penalty for such offences is imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to 10 lakh rupees.