Surrogacy Laws – Are They Enough To Stop Commercialization thereof in India?
Surrogacy, as an assisted reproductive technique, has raised various ethical and legal concerns. In this blog, we will analyze whether the current surrogacy laws in India are effective in preventing the commercialization of surrogacy and ensuring ethical practices and protection for all parties involved.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Surrogacy and Its Commercialization
Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021
Effectiveness of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021
Challenges and Loopholes
Suggestions for Improvement
1. Introduction to Surrogacy and Its Commercialization
Surrogacy is a process in which a woman (the surrogate mother) carries and delivers a child for another person or couple (the intended parents). Commercialization of surrogacy refers to the practice of paying the surrogate mother for her services beyond medical expenses, which has led to a flourishing industry, often marked by exploitation and lack of regulation.
2. Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021
India's Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, aims to regulate surrogacy practices by prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing only altruistic surrogacy under specific conditions. The Act establishes a National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards, and Appropriate Authorities to oversee and enforce the regulations.
3. Effectiveness of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, has had some positive effects in preventing the commercialization of surrogacy in India:
Banning commercial surrogacy has curtailed the growth of the surrogacy industry and reduced the exploitation of surrogate mothers.
Regulating altruistic surrogacy has ensured that surrogacy practices follow ethical guidelines and protect the rights of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.
4. Challenges and Loopholes
Despite the positive effects, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, has some challenges and loopholes that could undermine its effectiveness:
Limited scope: The Act only allows altruistic surrogacy for legally married Indian couples, excluding single parents, LGBTQ+ individuals, and live-in partners.
Lack of clarity: The Act does not provide clear guidelines for determining the "close relative" status of a surrogate mother, which may lead to disputes and misuse.
Enforcement issues: The effective implementation of the Act relies on the efficient functioning of the National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards, and Appropriate Authorities, which may face challenges in terms of resources, infrastructure, and coordination.
5. Suggestions for Improvement
To make the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, more effective in stopping the commercialization of surrogacy, the following suggestions can be considered:
Broadening the scope of the Act to include single parents, LGBTQ+ individuals, and live-in partners, ensuring equal access to surrogacy services for all.
Providing clear guidelines on the definition of "close relative" and other eligibility criteria for surrogate mothers to minimize disputes and misuse.
Strengthening the enforcement and regulatory mechanisms by allocating adequate resources, infrastructure, and personnel to the National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards, and Appropriate Authorities.
Raising awareness and educating the public about the ethical and legal aspects of surrogacy to promote responsible and informed decision-making among intended parents and surrogate mothers.
Encouraging international cooperation and coordination to tackle cross-border surrogacy issues and prevent the exploitation of surrogate mothers.
While the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, has made significant strides in preventing the commercialization of surrogacy in India, there is still room for improvement. Addressing the existing challenges and loopholes, and considering the suggested improvements, can help ensure that surrogacy practices in India remain ethical and protect the rights and well-being of all parties involved.