Allow surrogacy for all: Ministry

The women and child development (WCD) ministry has proposed to the health ministry to allow surrogacy to everyone, including unmarried couples and those in live-in relationships etc. In its comments sent to the health ministry on the proposed Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) bill, 2013, the WCD has opined that surrogacy should be allowed to everyone, irrespective of marriage.
Calling the definition of “couple” (as stated by health ministry) narrow, the WCD has suggested that the definition of “couple should include everyone who wants to avail ARTs and surrogacy, irrespective of marriage.”
Contrary to the health ministry’s draft bill that says that no women shall act as surrogate for more than “three” successful births including their own children, the WCD has proposed to extend the same provision to four births (live and still births), including her own children with not less than 2 year interval between two deliveries.
The WCD is also of the view that women above 21 years with conditions like height below 140 cm, women with low Body Mass Index (BMI) and with high risk conditions like cardio-vascular diseases, thyroid problem should be excluded from the process. It has also proposed that the contravention to this stipulation should attract a fine to an offence punishable under the proposed act.
Considering the health risks that a surrogate entails, the WCD has said that the draft bill should “incorporate provisions of compensation to the surrogate and her family in cases of any health complications or death.” Also, according to the WCD, there should be some provision in case the child born due to some deficiency needs to be with the surrogate mother till the baby is handed over to the surrogate parents.
The women and child development ministry has also proposed that the minimum compensation to be paid to the surrgogate should be paid to her once an embryo has been transferred in her, irrespective of whether she was able to deliver the child or not or had to terminate her pregnancy due to medical complications.

The WCD has asked the health ministry to specify the maximum number of cycle a woman can undergo for the process. As per the ministry, the draft bill should contain provisions for the regulations of other players like medical tourism agencies, surrogacy agencies, etc.
surrogacy homes and hostels, surrogacy law firms etc.
The WCD has also suggested the donors with two live children should not be allowed for ART procedure.
The new draft of the bill is the first move made in the direction of setting up a regulatory framework for surrogacy in India. While, the health ministry is eager to approach the Cabinet, it has given new deadline to the ministries for sending their comments after the other ministries failed to send their comments by August 5,2013.

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