With appeals for review of provisions in the proposed surrogacy law, members of the Rajya Sabha select committee, which is examining the Bill, will visit Anand in Gujarat, known as the surrogacy capital of India, to consult stakeholders, even as there are signals that the panel may consider prospects of allowing single parents and live-in couples to opt for surrogacy.
Sources said the 23-member House committee will begin their four-day field visit from January 21 and meet stakeholders, including surrogate parents and doctors at IVF clinics.
A source said the committee members will meet surrogate mothers, intended parents and doctors and try to study the clinic system. “We need to bridge and regulate the ethical gap between surrogate parents and the commissioning parents with the (proposed) law,” the source said.
According to the source, the committee may consider the possibility of allowing surrogacy for single parents and live-in couples. “There may be reservations on allowing homosexuals,” the source said, and pointed out that single parents are allowed to adopt under the changed adoption laws.
Bill had met with opposition in House
When the Bill came up in Rajya Sabha, MPs had expressed reservation on the provision that only a close relative can be a surrogate mother, as also the clause that surrogacy will be permitted for couples after at least five years of marriage. They argued that having a close relative to act as a surrogate will be difficult in a changing society. Many MPs had said the Bill has some “unjust provisions” and impracticalities, and is silent on the question of prior informed consent.
When Health Minister Harsh Vardhan took up the Bill in Rajya Sabha in Parliament last year, MPs had sought amendments in certain provisions.
The Bill proposes to prohibit commercial surrogacy but allows only altruistic surrogacy, which does not involve monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy. The Bill also proposes to allow surrogacy for intending couples suffering from proven infertility.
The committee, headed by BJP MP Bhupender Yadav, will look into different aspects of the Bill: whether a single parent should be allowed to opt for surrogacy, whether to hide details of a surrogate mother, whether commercial surrogacy should be allowed, and the clause on only a close relative to act as surrogate.