NEW DELHI : The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 that aims to prohibit commercial surrogacy in India. The Bill had been passed by the last Lok Sabha but lapsed after dissolution of the House.

“Cabinet has approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, but we will disclose the details later as the parliament session in on," said Prakash Javadekar, Union minister of environment, forest and climate change, at a briefing.

The Bill proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in the state and Union Territories. The purpose of the Bill is to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy, and allow ethical surrogacy, government sources said.

India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from other countries and there have been reports concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy, and rackets involving intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes. The 228th report of the Commission of India has recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy by enacting suitable legislation.

Once the Bill is enacted by Parliament, the central government shall notify the date of the commencement of the Act. Consequently the National Surrogacy Board will be constituted. The states and Union Territories shall constitute state surrogacy boards.

While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited, including sale and purchase of human embryos and gametes, ethical surrogacy for needy couples will be allowed on fulfillment of stipulated conditions. “It will also prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy. No permanent structure is proposed to be created in the draft Bill. Accordingly, there will not be any financial implications, except for the meetings of the National at Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities, which will be met out of the administrative budgets of respective departments," the government said.

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