Cabinet approves amendments in Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016

The Union Cabinet has approved proposal for moving official amendments in Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016. Once the Bill is enacted by Parliament, National Surrogacy Board (NSB) will be constituted at central level. The States/UTs will constitute State Surrogacy Boards (SSBs) and State Appropriate Authorities within 3 months of notification by Central Government.

Background

India has emerged as surrogacy hub for couples from different countries and there have been reported incidents concerning unethical practices, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy, exploitation of surrogate mothers and rackets of intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes. The 228th report of Law Commission of India has recommended for prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy by enacting suitable legislation.

Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016

The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in November 2016 which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in January 2017. The committee had held various meetings with various stakeholders for holding discussions and to receive their suggestions.

The proposed legislation proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing NSB at central level and, SSBs and Appropriate Authorities in States/UTs. It also seeks to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow altruistic surrogacy to needy Indian infertile couples. The Bill will apply to whole of India, except Jammu and Kashmir.

Significane of Bill

The proposed law will regulate surrogacy services in country and rein unethical practices in surrogacy. It will prevent commercialization of surrogacy and prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy. It will prohibit commercial surrogacy including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes. It will allow ethical surrogacy to needy infertile couples on fulfillment of certain conditions and for specific purposes. It will protect rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy will be protected.

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