New Delhi: As part of an effort to understand key issues related to surrogacy and the challenges it poses, a Parliamentary panel will visit Anand, Gujarat, which is often termed as the “surrogacy capital of India”, along with Hyderabad and Mumbai, to interact with surrogate mothers and doctors. The group will also visit clinics.
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha last year but, in the upper House, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had moved a motion and referred the bill to a 23-member select committee on 21 November after some members raised objections.
The Rajya Sabha members had sought a number of amendments in certain provisions of the bill, including one which allows only a “close relative” to act as a surrogate to couples who have been legally married for at least five years. The members had raised concerns on the condition of a close relative.
“The members will visit meet surrogate mothers, doctors, they will look at clinics, the entire health department and the system being followed. A report will be prepared on this after interacting with them,” said a source.
Some of the key issues that they will look at include whether a single parent is allowed to use a surrogate mother? Should the identity of the surrogate mother be hidden? And what will be the exact definition of a close relative who will be the surrogate?
“There are a number of key issues that have to be looked at, including when a single parent is allowed to adopt a child why can’t they be allowed to use a surrogate mother? At the same time, it is important to understand who will be considered a close-relative. How exactly will it be defined? These issues have to be dealt with in the bill,” the source added.
The committee will also look at the ways of banning commercial surrogacy. According to the bill, the eligibility for a surrogate mother has been defined as one who is a close relative of the intending couple, a married woman having a child of her own and in the age-group of 25 to 35 years, who will be a surrogate only once in her lifetime and possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy. Further, the surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.