Two new laws governing surrogacy and assisted reproduction went into force in India recently as a result of years of lobbying by the Center for Reproductive Rights and its allies. The Assisted Reproductive Technology Act (“ART Act”) and the Surrogacy Act both contain numerous rules that specify requirements for ethical surrogacy in India and assisted reproductive technology (ART), as well as a detailed list of rights that safeguard children born through ART.
While the legislation passed in 2021 included a number of the Center’s and its allies’ suggestions, activists have found important loopholes that call for additional activism and legislative change.
What are the issues with the new surrogacy act of India?
The Surrogacy Act only permits commercial surrogacy via surrogacy agency in India in circumstances of altruism and outlaws it. This clause has the effect of prohibiting surrogates from getting any financial compensation related to surrogacy in India for their work outside of health and insurance benefits.
The Surrogacy Act further specifies the requirements for the intended parents and the surrogate, the conditions under which it is legal, and the regulatory framework for surrogacy clinics.
By establishing a national registry to monitor their operations, requirements for gamete donation, including requirements for donors, and requirements for providing ART services, the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act controls assisted reproduction clinics and banks.
Additionally, it includes services like in-vitro fertilization, gamete donation, and surrogacy under its definition of assisted reproductive technology via surrogacy agency in Mumbai or any other city
The Act also lists the privileges granted to children born via ART, such as immunity from abandonment and recognition of their right to inherit property.
Surrogacy and ART in India
India was thought to be a popular alternative for foreign parents seeking surrogacy before the new regulations took effect. According to a 2012 survey, 25,000 kids were born to surrogate moms in India in 2012, and half of them were for couples from foreign countries.
The surrogacy market in India was projected to be worth more than $400 million a year in 2012, with about 3000 clinics and surrogacy agency in india under operation
Concerns against Surrogacy laws in India
Despite certain advantageous provisions, the sexual and reproductive rights movement and the medical community have opposed both statutes for the following reasons:
The laws are constructed in an exclusive and heteronormative manner. Only infertile heterosexual married couples or single women who are widowed or divorced are eligible for ART
the LGBTQI+ community and unmarried partners are excluded. This contravenes both international norms and recent rulings by the Supreme Court of India, such as Navtej Singh Johar v. UOI, a significant judgement that decriminalized same-sex relationships between consenting adults and served as a turning point for the LGBTQI+ community.
The rules reinforce a paternalistic model that diminishes women’s autonomy and reproductive labor by forbidding compensating surrogacy via surrogacy agency in India
The strict requirements for surrogates could drive the practice underground and endanger women’s lives and rights.
The new legislation would increase the surrogacy cost in India and put obstacles in the way of those with lesser means because of their hefty registration costs and onerous regulatory requirements. Smaller clinics will find it challenging to function as a result of the laws.
Recommendations on the Laws Were Provided by the Center and Partners
The Center and other organizations that support women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) have some of their recommendations included in the new laws. These consist of:
• the elimination of a restriction that limited altruistic surrogacy to immediate family members alone. The law’s restriction on surrogates to immediate family members alarmed civil society organizations and campaigners because they believed it would repeat the intricate familial systems that threaten women’s rights.
• single females are covered under the scope. Widows and divorced women were not included in the earlier version of the laws that addressed lone women.
• To conform with WHO rules, which define infertility as failing to conceive for 12 months, the term must be revised. The prior legal definition of infertility was failing to become pregnant for five years.
There is still work to be done on surrogacy in India and if you are not a local citizen, you must look for alternative options in the same regard.