Proposed Changes Surrogacy laws in India (2016) – Update

Proposed Changes Surrogacy laws in India, 24th August 2016 – Update

The union cabinet has given its approval to “Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2016” on 24th August 2016. The bill will come up for consideration in Parliament during the Winter Session of 2016 and it aims to safeguard the rights of Surrogate Mothers and make parentage of such children legal.

For the sake of simplicity, we have divided the main recommendations in three categories:

For Couples seeking Surrogacy:

  • There will be a complete ban on Commercial Surrogacy.
  • Surrogacy services will be restricted to Indian couples or foreigners married to Indian citizens. Surrogacy services will NOT be offered to NRI’s or OCI card holders.
  • Surrogacy will only be available for childless couple.
  • Couples having their own or adopted children will NOT be allowed to undergo Surrogacy.
  • Only women who are medically unfit to have children can take help from a close relative, which is called “Altruistic Surrogacy”.
  • A woman seeking a surrogate child should between 23 and 50 years in age and her husband should be between 26 and 55 years.
  • The couple has to be legally married for atleast five years.
  • Single Parents, Same sex couples, live in relationships will not be allowed altruistic surrogacy.

For Surrogate:

  • Only close relatives can offer to be surrogates. (Definition of close relative is yet to be defined.)
  • The surrogacy arrangement will have to be without any monetary benefits to the surrogate.
  • The surrogate mother should herself be married and have borne a healthy child.
  • A surrogate mother who offers her womb for the purpose, will be able to do so only once as per the bill.

 Surrogacy Legal Contract:

  • National Surrogacy Board will be set up at the state and central level to monitor and approve surrogacy.
  • A surrogacy contract should necessarily take care of life insurance cover for surrogate mother.
  • The bill has a provision for a jail term upto ten years and a fine of Rs 10 lakh for violations, such as abandoning the child and opting for commercial surrogacy.
  • The contract will contain all the terms requiring consent of surrogate mother to bear child, agreement of her husband and other family members for the same, and medical procedures intended to be performed.
  • Reimbursement of all reasonable medical expenses for carrying child to full term will be outlined.
  • Willingness to hand over the child born to the commissioning parents will be mentioned.
  • A surrogacy arrangement should provide for financial support for surrogate child in the event of death of the commissioning couple or individual before delivery of the child, or divorce between the intended parents and subsequent willingness of none to take delivery of the child.
  • Legislation itself will recognize a surrogate child to be the legitimate child of the commissioning parents without there being any need for adoption or even declaration of guardian.
  • Sex-selective surrogacy is prohibited.
  • In addition to this, Commerce ministry has also restricted the import of embryo for research purposes; Embryo’s also cannot be imported for commercial surrogacy any further
  • Surrogacy arrangement will continue to be governed by a contract amongst the involved parties.