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Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2014

21 October 2015

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2014 was shared by the Health Ministry for Public comments on 30 September. India has been one of the most preferred destination for infertile couples to opt for surrogacy, with an annual revenue of Rs 2500 crore ($390m) in 2011 as reported by PIB.

However, currently there is no law in this area and this has reportedly led to unethical practices being followed in the industry. According to the Indian Journal of Community Medicine,

If we look upon the problem of surrogate mothers, things are even worse and unethical. The poor, illiterate women of rural background are often persuaded in such deals by their spouse or middlemen for earning easy money. These women have no right on decision regarding their own body and life. In India, there is no provision of psychological screening or legal counseling, which is mandatory in USA After recruitment by commercial agencies, these women are shifted into hostels for the whole duration of pregnancy on the pretext of taking antenatal care. The real motive is to guard them and to avoid any social stigma of being outcast by their community. These women spend the whole tenure of pregnancy worrying about their household and children. They are allowed to go out only for antenatal visits and are allowed to meet their family only on Sundays. The worst part is that in case of unfavorable outcome of pregnancy, they are unlikely to be paid, and there is no provision of insurance or post-pregnancy medical and psychiatric support for them.

The present bill, if passed by the parliament would halve the demand for surrogate mothers in India [reports TOI]. The important features of the bill are:

a. Surrogacy can be availed only by Indian couple or a foreigner married to Indian citizen.b. Surrogacy can be availed only by a ‘couple’ who must be married man and woman, for a considerable time thereby disallowing live in or homosexual couples surrogacy in India.c. Commissioning couple to accept the child born out of surrogacy, even if it has abnormalitiesd. Appointment of local guardian for the surrogate by the couple till the process is completee. Clinics and banks helpting in ART to be registered under Indian Council of Medical Researchf. Only married females between 23 to 35 years of age to be surrogate mothers.g. Insurance of surrogate mother and child to be borne by the commissioning couple for any medical complications arising out of ARTh. Surrogate mothers to be Indian citizen and to have Aadhar cards

Interested parties can comment on or till 15 November to participate in the public discussion regarding the bill.