Parliamentary panel says no to blanket ban on commercial surrogacy
New Delhi: Rejecting a blanket ban on commercial surrogacy as proposed in The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, a parliamentary standing committee has said such a move could trigger a black market in surrogacy services in India.
“By banning compensated surrogacy, there could be a black market in surrogacy services. The whole surrogacy service could go underground and would lead to increased exploitation with no mechanism for protection of any of the parties involved in the surrogacy arrangement,” the committee said in a report.
“There is also the likelihood of surrogacy being driven underground involving illicit inter-country movement of women to be surrogate mothers into foreign nations or safe surrogacy havens globally for monetary returns. This may subject the surrogate to worst sufferings. Hence, a prohibition of commercial sector is likely to hurt the very people it seeks to protect,” the committee said.
The proposed bill seeks to allow only altruistic surrogacy by a woman who is a close relative and genetically related to the intending couple. It makes no provision of any monetary incentive, except medical expenses.
The committee said this would be like “forced labour” because non-payment of any compensation is against Article 23 of the Constitution of India.
“Pure altruistic drive for any substantial and meaningful contribution of someone else’s life is unreasonable to expect in today’s economic and social environment. Endorsing altruistic surrogacy will enforce emotional and social pressure on close female relatives without any compensation for immense emotional and bodily labour of gestation involved in surrogacy as well as loss of livelihood.”
“A woman should not be expected to act as a surrogate and go through all the trial and tribulations of physical and emotional tolls of this arrangement free of cost and only out of compassion,” the committee said.
The bill aimed at safeguarding the rights of surrogate mothers was introduced in November 2016 in the Lok Sabha.