India proposes commercial surrogacy ban; live-ins, homosexuals worst hit

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August 24, 2016

NEW DELHI – India is proposing to ban commercial surrogacy and stop single women from acting as surrogate mothers to crack down on what the government calls exploitation of the poor.

August 24, 2016

NEW DELHI – India is proposing to ban commercial surrogacy and stop single women from acting as surrogate mothers to crack down on what the government calls exploitation of the poor.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said only Indian citizens will be allowed to avail surrogates as she unveiled a new bill governing surrogacy and criticized what she called the “celebrity culture” of getting children through this process.

“Today, getting a child through surrogacy has become a fashion, a hobby not a necessity. The bill won’t allow this,” said Swaraj, who headed the informal group of ministers looking into the bill.

The minister said only altruistic surrogacy – where the expecting parents pay for the medical procedure and not the surrogate mothers – will be allowed under certain conditions. In commercial surrogacy, mothers are paid an advance and then a fixed amount of money through the process.

But homosexual couples, couples in live-in relationships and single parents won’t be allowed to access altruistic surgery.

 “You can say it (allowing surrogacy for homosexual couples) is looking forward and we can say this doesn’t go with our ethos,” the minister said.

The minister said single women won’t be allowed to act as surrogate mothers as the government doesn’t recognize live-in relationships. “There r no ethical issue involved when a close relative act as surrogate,” she said.

Commercial surrogacy has exploded in India over the past decade with many couples, especially foreigners, desperate for a biological child flocking to countries like India and Thailand with no clear laws to govern the procedure.

Commercial surrogacy is banned in most developed countries, including Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand and Japan.

Swaraj said more than 2,000 surrogacy clinics were running in India without any registration. “The surrogacy bill will be revolutionary in checking the exploitation of women.”

Throughout the press conference, the minister came down heavily on celebrities, even apparently hinting at Shah Rukh Khan, whose third baby was born through surrogacy in 2013, triggering an ethical controversy.

“There are instances where celebrities who have two children have gone for surrogate child. Why should a poor woman act as a surrogate because some celebrity’s wife does not want to go through labour pain?”


Courtesy: HT