Author: Sonia Behera, a student at Delhi Metropolitan Education, Affiliated with GGSIPU
The word “Surrogacy” comes from the Latin word “Surrogatus” which means a “substitute” or an alternate option. Surrogacy is an act of reproductive practice where a third party conceives and gives birth to a child. The intending parents and surrogate mother enter into a contractual arrangement that states that after the child is born, the surrogate mother would hand over the child to the intending parents without having any legal or parental obligation over the child.
India now officially has a law in place for regulating surrogacy services in the country. The central government notified the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021 and the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act 2021. The two Acts aim to regulate in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics and prohibit commercial surrogacy in India.
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 prohibits commercial surrogacy. However, it allows altruistic surrogacy. The Bill was enacted on December 25, 2021, after receiving Presidential assent. The Act aims to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in states and union territories.
This is a medical process in which a third person ie. a female bears the child of a couple having difficulty in having a child of their own and in return that woman bearing the child would get an amount in return in terms of money.
In India commercialization of this procedure is banned as most illegal practices used to happen in the name of surrogacy procedure. Due to the monetary terms, surrogate mothers were ill-treated and exploited. It is also felt that a connection between a Mother and Child be it a Surrogate Mother, is special and money cannot be a thing that could ever define that bond.
Where Is Commercial Surrogacy Legal
There are no internationally recognized surrogacy laws protecting intended parents, surrogate mothers and children. Some countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, prohibit all forms of surrogacy, whereas others, including Australia, the United Kingdom and Denmark, allow only altruistic surrogacy. These limitations on surrogacy prevent many couples from pursuing this path to parenthood and lead others to pursue commercial surrogacy where it is allowed — notably in countries like India, Thailand, Russia, and Ukraine.
In many instances, commercial surrogacy acts as an attractive alternative for the parties. This is because it provides financial stability to the poor surrogate mother and it also includes foreign currency investment.
Commercial surrogacy has its own pros and cons, however, the author feels that this procedure, if regulated properly and with proper laws, could become a good option for the parents wanting a child and surrogate mother to have financial support. Although this procedure involves monetary exchange, the laws should be made, in accordance with the emotions, hopes, and convenience of the surrogate mother and the intended parents.
India faces the severe problem of poverty, and with the advent of surrogacy in the country, poor women indulge themselves in the process. Therefore, it is necessary to arrive at a mid-way that facilitates commercial surrogacy but in a better and sufficient regulatory manner. The prices must be fixed by the appropriate authorities and bargaining shouldn’t be permitted.