GS Mains Model Question & Answer: The Surrogacy Bill 2016 bars married couples with kids or adopted children from commissioning babies through surrogacy


GS Mains Model Question & Answer: The Surrogacy Bill 2016 bars married couples with kids or adopted children from commissioning babies through surrogacy


Q. The Surrogacy Bill 2016 bars married couples with kids or adopted children from commissioning babies through surrogacy. (12.5 Marks)

(General Studies Mains Paper III- Science and Technology : Bio-technology )

Model Answer :

The 228th report of the Law Commission of India has recommended for prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian citizens by enacting a suitable legislation.

The draft Surrogacy bill has several checks on who is an eligible candidate for surrogacy, and also has restrictions on who can be a surrogate mother. The government, in this legislation, has also tried to define a couple in "need" for a surrogate child. All infertile Indian married couple who want to avail ethical surrogacy will be benefited. Further the rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy will be protected.

Salient features of the proposed draft bill :

1. The health ministry has proposed to amend the surrogacy laws in India because of increase in commercial surrogacy in India.
2. The bill effectively bans foreigners to seek an Indian surrogate mother. This includes non-resident Indians (NRIs).
3. The proposed law allows heterosexual married Indian couples with "proven infertility" to try the surrogacy route.
4. You have to be married for at least five years before approaching a surrogate mother, according to the proposed legislation.
5. If you're a heterosexual married couple who have proven infertility, and you find someone who agrees to be a surrogate mother, you can't pay her.
6. If you're a heterosexual couple who have proven infertility, and you have found someone who agrees to be a surrogate mother without payment, you have to make sure that person is a "close relative".
7. If you have a child already, or you adopted a child in the past, you can't approach a surrogate mother.
8. If you already have a surrogate child, you cannot approach a surrogate mother a second time.
9. The government has proposed that it will establish a National Surrogacy Board at the central level, chaired by the health minister, and State Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities in the states and union territories to overlook all cases of surrogacy and regulate hospitals and clinics that offer this in India.
10. The Bill shall apply to whole of India, except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Benefits :

1. The major benefits of the Act would be that it will regulate the surrogacy services in the country.
2. Commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions and for specific purposes.
3. It will control the unethical practices in surrogacy, prevent commercialization of surrogacy and will prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.

Limitations:

1. No permanent structure is proposed to be created in the Draft Bill. Neither there are proposals for creating new posts.
2. The proposed legislation, while covering an important area is framed in such a manner that it ensures effective regulation but does not add much vertically to the current regulatory structure already in place at the central as well as states.
3. There will not be any financial implications except for the meetings of the National and State surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities which will be met out of the regular budget of Central and State governments.

References

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