Becoming parents is the most beautiful thing in the world. A child brings love, joy, and laughter in a couple’s life bringing them closer than ever before. Children are like an invisible thread holding parents together through thick and thin.
- Surrogacy - a big money-making business.
- Commercial and altruistic surrogacy.
- Ethical issues surrounding surrogacy.
While children are a blessing, not all are lucky enough to be blessed with them. Thanks to the medical industry, today surrogacy is not an unusual word. It is a common technique where infertile couple lends a womb to get children. While surrogacy is banned in many countries like Italy, France, Japan, Germany, Singapore, etc., some countries like Canada, New Zealand, UK, etc. allow altruistic surrogacy (lending a womb of a blood relative without any commercial transaction). Surrogacy in India has been around in India since 1994 making it as an international hub for the same.
Due to many poor and economically challenged women in India, commercial surrogacy in India is estimated to be a 2.3 billion industry (IndianExpress, 2015) where women agree to lend their womb for money. Most of the women involved in commercial surrogacy are housemaids by profession (Centre for Social Research and WCD ministry, 2013). Somehow the legal aspects surrounding surrogacy were very much unsettled until Surrogacy (regulation) bill was passed in 2016.
Ethical issues till now:
While sex determination is banned in India due to the craze of preferring a male child over a female child, many get involved in this illegal process of sex determination in the name of Surrogacy. As a result, if the gender is not according to what the couple is expecting, the surrogated mother is forced to abort the child or is paid less than the previously agreed upon amount.
Surrogate Mother’s Poor Health Condition
The infertile couples get in touch with surrogate mothers through ART (Advancement of assisted Reproductive Techniques) clinics. Many Art clinics focus more on commercial profits and less on the health of surrogate mothers ignoring their daily check-ups and nutrition needs.
Abandoning The Child
Many times due to lack of nutrition to the surrogated mother or any illness or whatever reason, if the born child is not healthy or is abnormal in any way, couples do abandon the baby.
No Surrogacy privileges for LGBTs, Single Men and Women
Indian law doesn’t allow LGTBTs or unmarried men and women to enjoy fatherhood or motherhood with the help of a surrogate mother.
The “Baby Manji” case of 2008 is known to everyone, the Japanese parents of the baby got divorced before the baby was born as a result of which the baby was left with its surrogate mother for quite a long time. The father wanted the baby’s custody. But Indian law refused because he was a single man. However, the baby was granted a visa eventually but it was quite a complex situation.
On August 24, 2016, Surrogacy (regulation) bill was passed which banned commercial surrogacy allowing only Altruistic Surrogacy in India. This was mainly to protect the dignity of motherhood and prevent human trafficking.