What is The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016?

Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016

Relevance:

  • GS Prelims, GS Mains paper I
  • Social Issues, Surrogacy, Issues related to women

Backgrounder: 

  • On August 24, 2017, the Union Cabinet approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in November 2016 and was later referred to a parliamentary standing committee on Health and Family Welfare in January 2017.
  • The bill aims to shut down surrogacy shops, allowing only altruistic surrogacy, and banning commercial surrogacy.
  • Only a married blood relative, who must have herself borne a child, and is not an NRI or a foreigner, can be a surrogate mother, once in a lifetime.
  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 passed in Lok Sabha on 19-12-2018 allows only altruistic surrogacy by infertile Indian couples, legally married for at least five years.
  • Surrogacyis an arrangement where a couple commissions a woman (called a surrogate) to carry their child.
  • The Surrogacy Bill also provides for the constitution of a National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards and appointment of appropriate authorities for regulation of the practice and process of surrogacy.

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016: All you need to know

  • According to the bill, only childless coupleslegally marriedfor at least five years, are allowed to commission surrogacy, from a woman who is a “close relative” of the couple.
  • Singlesor those in a homosexual relationship cannot apply for surrogacy. The child, thus born, will be deemed to be the legal offspring of the intended couple.
  • As the bill restricts surrogacy by only a “close relative”, couples who do not have a large “close” family — or members in it who might be willing to be surrogates for them — cannot have a baby through surrogacy. The only available option for them will then be adoption.
  • Only a married blood relative, who must have herself borne a child, and is not an NRI or a foreigner, can be a surrogate mother, that too once in a lifetime.
  • The bill aims to shut down surrogacy shops, allowing only altruistic surrogacy, meaning that apart from the basic costs incurred in the process of childbirth, no other gratification (in cash or kind) shall be paid to the surrogate mother.
  • It bans commercial surrogacy that allows compensation, exceeding the medical expenses of childbirth, to be paid to the surrogate mother.
  • According to the bill, foreign nationals will not be allowed to apply for surrogacy in India, making it exclusively for Indian citizens, in accordance with the provisions.
  • Once enacted by Parliament, the National Surrogacy Boardwill be constituted at the central level, while the states and Union Territories will constitute the State Surrogacy Boards and State Appropriate Authorities within three months of the notification by the Central Government.

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