Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016: Lok Sabha passes Bill prohibiting commercial surrogacy
The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile. It permits surrogacy only for couples who cannot conceive a child.
The Lok Sabha on December 19, 2018 passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 which is aimed at prohibiting commercial surrogacy and unethical practices relating to it.
Once the Bill is enacted by the Parliament, the National Surrogacy Board will be constituted. The States and Union Territories will constitute the State Surrogacy Board and State Appropriate Authorities within three months of the notification by the Union Government.
Definition of Surrogacy as per Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
As per the Bill, Surrogacy is defined as "a practice whereby one woman carries the child for another with the intention that the child should be handed over after birth".
Surrogacy may be altruistic or commercial in nature. Altruistic surrogacy involves an arrangement where the couple does not pay the surrogate mother any compensation other than the medical and insurance expenses related to the pregnancy. Commercial surrogacy includes compensation in cash or kind paid to the surrogate mother.
Provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
• The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile.
• It permits surrogacy only for couples who cannot conceive a child.
• The surrogate mother has to be a ‘close relative’ of the intending couple.
• No payment other than reasonable medical expenses can be made to the surrogate mother.
• The surrogate child will be considered as the biological child of the intending couple.
• Central and state governments will appoint appropriate authorities to grant eligibility certificates to the intending couple and the surrogate mother.
• The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, makes it a punishable offence.
The central and state governments will appoint one or more appropriate authorities. The appropriate authority comprises the Joint Director of the State Health Department, an officer of the State Law Department, a medical practitioner, and an eminent woman.
The functions of the appropriate authority include:
(i) Granting, suspending or cancelling registration of surrogacy clinics;
(ii) Enforcing standards for surrogacy clinics; and
(iii) Investigating and taking action against complaints of breach of the Act.