Bill Proposes to Make Surrogacy Legal, Hassle-Free
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17 June 2010
By Risha Chitlangia
New Delhi, India
Semen & Egg Storage, Donors List Likely
Renting a womb could soon become a completely legal and hassle–free experience for Indian and foreign couples seeking surrogate mothers in India. As per the draft Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill slated to be tabled in Parliament next session, government accredited ART banks will maintain a database of prospective surrogates as well as store semen and eggs, along with details of the donor.
Exploitation of surrogates by infertile couples, and vice versa, has been a serious concern ever since in–vitro fertilization (IVF) began. “But now, infertile couples don’t have to go hunting for surrogate mothers. The bank will find them one. The couple will have all information about her background and medical history before hiring her womb,” said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) deputy director general Dr R S Sharma, involved in drafting the bill.
These banks–private and government–will be accredited to state boards which will monitor them. “This is a step towards legalizing surrogacy and fixing responsibilities of the parties involved,” he said.
“Poor women sell their womb several times for money. This is damaging to their body. The new bill states that a woman can’t have more than five live births and donate oocytes more than six times,” said Dr Sharma. Apart from bearing all expenses of the surrogate during gestation, the couple can also give her monetary compensation, terms of which will be left to the parties.
The bill proposes stringent rules for foreigners looking for surrogates. It will be mandatory for them to submit two certificates–one on their country’s policy on surrogacy and the other stating that the child born to the surrogate mother will get their country’s citizenship. “They also have to nominate a local guardian to care for the surrogate during gestation,” said Dr Sharma.