The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday took up the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill that bans commercial surrogacy and allows only altruistic surrogacy by close relatives for married, infertile couples. The Bill forbids any payment to a surrogate mother, including for wage loss.
While discussions could not be completed, several speakers asked for altruistic surrogacy to be replaced by compensated surrogacy, reduction of the waiting period for a couple from five years to one year, and broadening of the medical reasons for which surrogacy is allowed.
Congress MP M B Rajeev Gowda pointed out other reasons such as early menopause, repeated miscarriages, uterus problems, etc that can cause inability to have a baby apart from what is medically termed as infertility. He said the clause to allow only close relatives to become surrogate mothers would increase the chances of exploitation of women within the family system.
SP’s Ramgopal Yadav, who was chairman of the Parliamentary standing committee that had examined the Bill, said, “The intending parents get the baby, the doctor gets money, it is only the surrogate mother who is the philanthropist, who has to subject her body to this for nine months without any compensation. That is why we had asked for compensated surrogacy… also this close relative clause will cause social problems. It could even give rise to property disputes…we had asked for the insurance cover to be given for six years. You have reduced it to 16 months.”
BJP MP Suresh Prabhu questioned the rationale of a couple waiting for five years to avail the services of a surrogate, especially at a time when people tend to marry late.