Tuesday, January 18, 2022

New surrogacy Bill: Government being harsh, say single people and couples who ‘wish for a biological child’

The new bill puts a ban on commercial surrogacy, single or unmarried persons opting for it

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
August 28, 2016 1:06:43 am
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, Surrogacy Bill, Job and money related to Surrogacy, Job dependent on Surrogacy bill, India Surrogacy Bill, India news, latest news Surrogate mothers at an Anand hospital. Express Photo by Bhupendra Rana

A 43-year-old unmarried Borivali East resident has finished the documentation process and selected a surrogate mother for his baby. However, if the Parliament passes the new Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill which was approved by the Union cabinet this week, his chances of fatherhood will be pushed into uncertain territory.

The new draft law not only aims to put a ban on commercial surrogacy, but also on single or unmarried persons opting for the procedure. This includes foreign nationals, homosexuals and live-in partners.
“It is not just my story. It applies to our generation, those who are not married and wish to have a biological child,” the man told The Indian Express.

Ten years ago he had developed Psoriasis, a skin disorder. Despite initial efforts to get married, he could not find a partner. “It (the disease) is socially unacceptable,” he said.

Two years ago, realising he “needs a child of his own”, he discussed the option of surrogacy with his parents who readily agreed. “I did not want to adopt. If getting my own child was medically possible, why not opt for that?” he said.

He has already undergone three failed attempts at in-vitro fertilisation. At the first two attempts, the fertilised embryo was not sustained in the surrogate mother’s uterus. At the third attempt, there were issues with the donor egg. At the fourth attempt now, a fertilised embryo transfer was done, two days before the cabinet okayed the bill. The results will come by September 15 but the 43-year-old is already tense.

“The government is being very harsh. They must change this policy,” he said.

Previously a business developer with a multinational firm, he took a sabbatical a year ago. He now attends Art of Living classes and focuses on spirituality. “I am already 43 years old and wish to have a child. But the law will make it illegal,” he said.

Like him, ban on commercial surrogacy has left other couples, with no close relative eligible or willing to become a surrogate, in a lurch.

A 38-year-old entrepreneur from the Western suburbs, who has a weak heart that can endanger her life during pregnancy, said, “We went to several doctors. Since I can’t conceive, surrogacy is our only option.”

She married when she was 29 years old. After eight years of sifting through various options, her 44-year-old husband, also an entrepreneur, and she decided to opt for surrogacy. They have already undergone a failed attempt and were looking for a surrogate when the bill was passed on August 24.

The woman had asked her elder sister (42) too but the latter did not wish to become a surrogate. “The adoption wait list is never ending. The rules are not parent-friendly,” she said, adding that surrogacy was their only shot to carry “their genes forward”.

“Till now, we have not seen a single case where a family member has become a surrogate. The government needs to regularise the procedure, not ban it,” said IVF expert Dr Ankit Savla.

According to Dr Ameet Patki, treasurer of Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR), the bill will be a massive blow to the people who cannot afford to travel abroad to undergo the procedure. “Associations such as ISAR and Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Society of India (FOGSI) were not invited for recommendations before the bill was passed,” he said.

Mumbai has 46 registered IVF centres. In 2015, the government had announced a ban on surrogacy for foreign nationals which had affected several surrogate mothers.

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