Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday condemned the misuse of altruistic surrogacy saying ‘what was started for convenience has become a luxury’ today.
Addressing a press conference after the Union Cabinet gave its approval for introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, Swaraj said that the Bill comes as India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples and incidents reported on unethical practices
The minister said that the Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy and allows ethical surrogacy to needy infertile couples. “It also prohibits Single parents, homosexual couples, live-in relationships couples to opt for altruistic surrogacy,” said Swaraj.
Swaraj lashed out at celebrities for opting for surrogacy saying it has become a trend. “Big celebrities who not only have one but two children, a son and a daughter, even then they went ahead with surrogacy,” said the minister.
On a question for allowing surrogacy for homosexual couples, Swaraj said, “You can say it is looking forward and we can say this doesn’t go with our ethos.”
According to the Health Ministry proposal, the draft Surrogacy Bill, 2016 aims at regulating commissioning of surrogacy in the country in a proper manner.
Official sources said the Cabinet gave its green signal to the Bill to be introduced in Parliament.
A Group of Ministers (GoM) had recently cleared the bill and had referred it to the Union Cabinet for a final call.
The GoM was constituted at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Apart from Health Minister J P Nadda, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal were among those part of the GoM.
The government had recently admitted that in the absence of a statutory mechanism to control commissioning of surrogacy at present, there have been cases of pregnancies by way of surrogacy, including in rural and tribal areas, leading to possible exploitation of women by unscrupulous elements.
The bill was to be taken up by the Union Cabinet on April 27, but it was dropped from the agenda at the last moment.
To prevent exploitation of women, especially those in rural and tribal areas, the government has prohibited foreigners from commissioning surrogacy in the country and has drafted this comprehensive legislation, the sources said.
The government had recently said in Parliament that provisions are being made in the draft Bill to make parentage of children born out of surrogacy “legal and transparent”.
(With inputs from PTI)