NEW DELHI :
Rajya Sabha members on Wednesday sought amendments in certain provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, that seeks to ban commercial surrogacy in India.
The proposed legislation, which was moved by health minister Harsh Vardhan in the Upper House on Tuesday, was passed by the Lok Sabha in the monsoon session. The bill only allows a close relative to act as a surrogate to couples who have been legally married for at least five years.
The members are seeking to amend the provisions. As the bill remained inconclusive in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, the discussion continued on Wednesday. During the discussion on Wednesday, Jairam Ramesh from the Congress party said that infertility is increasing in India and it often segregates couples in society. Even though population is increasing, infertile couples are seen as a blot in society, he said. The standing committee had recommended Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) bill to be taken up before the surrogacy bill.
“There are several demographic issues associated with infertility. As far as surrogacy laws are concerned, we need to see what form of regulation we are bringing in. The ART Bill is already pending. As there is a technological base of surrogacy, the surrogacy bill should come after ART bill. You are addressing the surrogacy issues but not looking after the technology behind it," said Ramesh.
On the provision of only a “close relative" to be a surrogate mother, he said: “This flies in the face of the realities of Indian families. This will effectively end the practice of surrogacy."
According to the government, the bill is aimed at checking unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets around intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes.