August 28, 2016 1:42:42 am
Shortly after the Union cabinet announced its decision to ban commercial surrogacy, Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, a fertility specialist, received over a dozen text messages from clients who had opted for surrogacy. One of them said: “This is Talibanisation of ART (The Assisted Reproductive Technology). Is there an alternative option the government is providing”.
Delhi has almost 65 ART clinics which deal with cases of surrogacy. These clinics and the doctors who run them, including Gour, are worried about the road ahead in the wake of the Centre’s Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill.
Terming the government’s decision “retrograde and repressive”, Gour said, “The government is saying in 99 per cent cases, a woman becomes a surrogate because she wants compensation. But going by that number, 99 per cent of those who want a child through surrogacy will no longer have any options.”
She added, “My patients want to know what alternative options the government is giving them. We have been informed that the government is planning to implement similar measures for egg donations. The only option left is adoption. They want people to adopt by cutting off all other options.”
“We already have the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, where two doctors give an opinion on whether a pregnancy can be terminated… A similar procedure can be adopted in cases of surrogacy, but we cannot have a complete ban,” she added.
Agrees Dr Alka Kriplani, professor and head of department, obstetrics and gynecology, AIIMS. Saying there “cannot be a total ban on commercial surrogacy”, she said the process needed to be regulated “judiciously” by the medical board concerned.
“There are so many women who cannot conceive. In the majority of the cases, surrogacy is not by choice but by compulsion… commercial surrogacy will have its own place in any society because motherhood is the right of the woman. There should be a medical board to certify the genuineness of the case… we cannot totally ban it. Instead, we should use it judiciously,” Dr Kriplani told The Indian Express.
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