The Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare has submitted its report on the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016.
Key observations and recommendations of the Committee are:
Commercial vs. altruistic surrogacy: Surrogacy is the practice where one woman carries the child for another with the intention of handing over the child after birth. The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy and allows altruistic surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy involves no compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical and insurance expenses related to the pregnancy. The Committee has recommended for surrogacy model based on compensation rather than altruistic surrogacy. The compensation must take care of several things including the wages lost during the pregnancy, psychological counselling, and post-delivery care.
Surrogate being a ‘close relative’: Under the Bill, the surrogate can only be a ‘close relative’ of the intending couple. Such an arrangement within the family may have:
detrimental psychological and emotional impact on the surrogate child
parentage and custody issues
inheritance and property disputes.
The Committee has recommended that the criteria of being a ‘close relative’ should be removed to allow both related and unrelated women to become surrogates. The committee has also recommended that the Bill must unambiguously state that the surrogate mother will not donate her own eggs for the purpose of the surrogacy.