Bill Banning Commercial Surrogacy Draws Ire Of LGBTQI Community

Commercial Surrogacy
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The Lok Sabha last month passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 which intends to keep a check and regulate laws pertaining to ‘commercial surrogacy in India’.

India has been also regarded as the ‘surrogacy haven’ or ‘fertility tourism hotspot’ soon after its legalisation in 2002. Consequently, this sector boomed with increased demand with the majority from outside the country. 

While the regulations did gather widespread recognition, some of the implications of the law didn’t seem to go well with certain sections of the society.

“Commercial surrogacy is a process wherein a couple rents or compensates a woman who is willing to lend her womb to bear a child for the intending couple. It was legalised in India in the year 2002, immediately after which, a huge boom in the sector was witnessed, making it a 400-million-dollar business,” shares Advocate, Neel Bhargava, explaining the complexities of the bill.

“This however, led to a lot of accusations and revelations. Multiple unscrupulous agents and agencies were identified who were making surrogacy into a forced business for several needy Indian women.

“It was found that the vulnerable, unemployed and un-empowered women in India were willing to rent their womb were exploited. This was also causing a lot of health issues for the surrogate mother and the child born. Women would undertake pregnancy up to five times for high monetary compensation.

If this had continued in a similar fashion, commercial surrogacy would have turned into a systematic business plan.

People who could afford it, would spend huge sums of money raising the market value and the genuine applicants unable to bear the price hike due to excessive demands would have to suffer.

Moreover, in various earlier cases it has been seen that parents have denied taking responsibility of the child born/yet in womb. The future of the child in such cases is ruined.

There are however speculations made that commercial surrogacy might become a ‘black market’ with people going off the radar to undergo surrogacy if the bill is banned. However, the prima-facie problem of the bill is exploitation of women, revelation of similar shocking cases, hence, to control this, the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on 21 November 2016 which was later referred to the standing committee that submitted their report on August 2017 and later, in December 2018, the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha.

I believe the bill brings in a decent solution to the prima facie problem of exploitation of women and other related matters,” adds Advocate, Neel.

Shyam Konnur, Founder -MIST (an online collective of the LGBTQI+ community activists from all over India) thinks banning the LGBTQ+ community from undergoing surrogacy reflects homophobia.

“My question is when people go for surrogacy will they ask a person if he or she is straight or gay? Moreover, I think the bill is bad in many ways.

I understand it helps avoid women being exploited but what if there are people in need of financial support and agree to do it? They should have some guidelines to protect issues like health risk, trafficking and exploitation.

When an adult has consent, it should not be an issue. I think government should not take way my right to my own body.

“When they mentioned single parents are not allowed, it automatically rules out homosexual couples as gay marriage or unions are not recognised in India. They didn’t have to mention homosexuals individually but the phobia in them did it,” he adds.

Dr. Vishal Kumar Poddar, Dentist and city-based activist quotes, “The worst part of this bill is it not only prevent the same sex parents to opt for it, but also doesn’t allow the citizens who don’t marry or are living a single life to have baby.

Is it that mandatory that only a married husband and wife can only maintain and cater to need of kids?

Then what you will say about those kids who are abandoned after birth by the parents, doesn’t that count alarming yet to stir the legal view?

“Why is it that only heterosexual couple can opt for surrogacy? Does the act meant to imply that a single parent or same sex couples are unable to cater to a baby’s normal lifestyle? Are all the surrogate children given to heterosexual couples taken well care of?

There are data that implies the couples opting for surrogacy have even refused to accept the child so given birth by surrogate mother based on gender discrimination. Does the act do enough for those surrogate mothers?

Dentist BDS LGBTQI Community: The supreme court asked to accept all genders and all people of the community and confer equal rights without any further discrimination.

Isn’t the bill again not only disapproving to confer rights to LGBTQIA community, but it’s also initiating a discrimination process to have baby or not to have baby among WE THE CITIZENS OF INDIA ..

Aren’t the single parent or homosexual couples or members of LGBT community mentally, emotionally and financially stable to start their own family?

Is the act trying to state that only heterosexual couples are having that stability to cater to the kid and their normal life being??

If that’s is so, then I ask the bill so passed by the govt to answer for all those kids who are abandoned by heterosexual couples, or for all the kids who are given birth by the citizens who reside in slum or deprived areas of, or for all the heterosexual couples who went on to have more than two child violating the basic slogan of population outburst of the country “Hum Do, Humare Do”,” adds Dr. Vishal Kumar.

Strictly banned for all foreign applicants.

Only allows altruistic surrogacy. Surrogacy can be done only in good faith, the surrogate mother won’t be liable to accept money for undergoing surrogacy, apart from accepting medical and health bills.

The ‘close relatives’ of the intended couple will only be allowed to bear the child on their behalf.

Restricts women to being surrogates only once, and only if they are a close relative of the intended parents, are married and have a biological child.

The couple should be infertile Indian couples who will have to be married for five years and have a doctor’s certificate of their infertility.

The bill bans all forms of surrogacy for single parents, homosexuals and live-in couples.

Provisions Of The Bill:

The surrogate child will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.

Central and State governments will appoint ‘appropriate authorities’ who will grant eligibility certificates to the couple and the surrogate mother stating whether or not ‘these people’ are eligible to under-go the process.

The authority will also operate and regulate the surrogacy clinics.

The bill does not specify any time limit for the eligibility certificates to be granted.

Going beyond the scope of bill, advertisement of commercial surrogacy, exploitation etc would attract punishment upto 10 years or upto 10 lakh fine, or both.

If, the couple, after undergoing all the legal formalities intend to terminate the pregnancy, the approval of the ‘appropriate authority’ and the consent of the surrogate mother will be mandatory. The couple here will have no say in the termination process.

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#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them. 

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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