Health minister Harsh Vardhan introduced the bill in Lok Sabha.
New Delhi: Commercial surrogacy would become a thing of the past as it will soon be banned. Only close relatives would be permitted to act as surrogates to infertile couples for “ethical altruistic” reasons.
Undertaking surrogacy for a fee, advertising it or exploiting the surrogate mother will be punishable with imprisonment for 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, according to a bill.
The Centre on Monday introduced the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha that also provides for the constitution of surrogacy boards at the national and state levels, as well as that the intending couples should not abandon such a child under any condition.
The proposed legislation says that only Indian couples who have been legally married for at least five years would be allowed to opt for surrogacy. Health minister Harsh Vardhan introduced the bill in Lok Sabha.
The bill seeks to “allow ethical altruistic surrogacy to the intending infertile Indian married couple between the age of 23-50 years and 26-55 years for female and male, respectively”.
A woman should be allowed to act as a surrogate mother only once and should be a close relative of the intending couple and “should be an ever married woman having a child of her own and between the age of 25-35 years”.
According to the statement of objectives of the bill, India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries for past few years.
“Due to lack of legislation to regulate surrogacy, the practice of surrogacy has been misused by surrogacy clinics, which leads to rampant commercial surrogacy and unethical practices,” it noted.
The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in December, 2018 but lapsed as it could not be passed in Rajya Sabha.
The proposed legislation defines surrogacy as an arrangement whereby an intending couple commissions a surrogate mother to carry their child.
No payment other than reasonable medical expenses can be made to the surrogate mother. The surrogate child will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple, it says further.