Should commercial surrogacy be banned in India?

Commercial surrogacy is the process by which an individual or couple pays a fee to a woman in exchange for her carrying and delivering a baby. At birth the child, homo-sexual couples, and single people who wish to be parents are the most common types of people who seek surrogate mothers.

Commercial surrogacy has been legal in India from 2002 onwards but due to unethical practices, a bill has been approved by the Union Cabinet in August 2016. This one lapsed when Parliament adjourned without taking the measure for a vote.

The new proposal came in 2019 that is to ban commercial surrogacy. The Indian minister of health has called the 2019 bill a “need of the hour” citing a rough estimate that between 2000 to 3000 unregulated clinics currently operate in the country. Under the new law anyone who performs or promotes this would be punished with up to 10 year of imprisonment and a fine up to one million rupees. The surrogacy bill’s provision restricting surrogacy to married heterosexual couples within strict age ranges also discriminates against members of L G B T community, older couples and unmarried people who might seek to have a child. The bill goes against the principles of equality provided under Article 14 of the Indian constitution.

Regulation, not ban, is needed. The commercial surrogacy in India needs a regulation and stricter rules that could ensure good care and pay to the woman alone and not agents or others. Good clinical facilities for the surrogate mother and a healthy environment where she could stay safely before and after delivery could lessen exploitation. There is no provision in the law about the custody of the child if the couple later refuse to accept it if the child is mentally challenged or born with a defect. People who hire surrogates have a need to do so due to medical reasons. It is not their choice. Regulation on this practice is very much needed and must be done to close loopholes due to which exploitation of surrogate mothers is taking place.

Indian society is yet to progress so much as to accept surrogate motherhood. The woman who rents her womb even if for the cause of humanity towards an unfortunate couple will never be accepted in society when she goes back to her normal life. People will look down on her and she may probably not be able to find a husband, if she was unmarried at the time of surrogacy. We need to be broad-minded and accept these women and respect their choice of renting their wombs.

Giving women a safe and free environment for surrogacy can help in curbing the evils attached and the industry could do well along with giving good money to such poor women so that they can make their lives better as well as give prosperity to their families.

Thank you for reading. Have a nice day!