The Government introduced the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha today cwhich would ban commercial surrogacy and allow only close relatives to act as surrogates to infertile couples for “ethical altruistic” reasons.
The bill, introduced by Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan, stipulates the constitution of surrogacy boards at the national and state levels. The couples will not be able to abandon a child produced through surrogacy under any condition.
The legislation seeks to “allow ethical altruistic surrogacy to the intending infertile Indian married couple between the age of 23-50 years and 26-55 years for female and male, respectively”. A woman should be allowed to act as a surrogate mother only once. She should be between 25 and 35 years of age and should be a close relative of the intending couple. She should be married and have a child of her own.
India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries over the past few years. The statement of objectives of the bill said: “Due to lack of legislation to regulate surrogacy, the practice of surrogacy has been misused by surrogacy clinics, which leads to rampant commercial surrogacy and unethical practices…”
The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in December, 2018, but it lapsed.