Surrogacy in India and Indian surrogates became increasingly popular amongst intended parents in industrialised nations because of the relatively low costs and easy access offered by Indian surrogacy agencies.
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The Indian Council for Medical Research has given guidelines in the year 2002, approved by the government in 2005, regulating Assisted Reproductive Technology procedures. The Law Commission of India submitted the 228th report on Assisted Reproductive Technology procedures discussing the importance and need for surrogacy, and also the steps taken to control surrogacy arrangements. The following observations had been made by the Law Commission:
- Surrogacy arrangement will continue to be governed by contract amongst parties, which will contain all the terms requiring consent of surrogate mother to bear child, agreement of her husband and other family members for the same, medical procedures of artificial insemination, reimbursement of all reasonable expenses for carrying child to full term, willingness to hand over the child born to the commissioning parent(s), etc. But such an arrangement should not be for commercial purposes.
- A surrogacy arrangement should provide for financial support for surrogate child in the event of death of the commissioning couple or individual before delivery of the child, or divorce between the intended parents and subsequent willingness of none to take delivery of the child.
- A surrogacy contract should necessarily take care of life insurance cover for surrogate mother.
- One of the intended parents should be a donor as well, because the bond of love and affection with a child primarily emanates from biological relationship. Also, the chances of various kinds of child-abuse, which have been noticed in cases of adoptions, will be reduced. In case the intended parent is single, he or she should be a donor to be able to have a surrogate child. Otherwise, adoption is the way to have a child which is resorted to if biological (natural) parents and adoptive parents are different.
- Legislation itself should recognize a surrogate child to be the legitimate child of the commissioning parent(s) without there being any need for adoption or even declaration of guardian.
- The birth certificate of the surrogate child should contain the name(s) of the commissioning parent(s) only.
- Right to privacy of the donor as well as the surrogate mother should be protected.
- Sex-selective surrogacy should be prohibited.
- Cases of abortion should be governed by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 only.
The approximate cost of surrogacy in India ranged between $20,000 and $30,000. As one shall see, it was far less expensive than in California (from $120,000) and Utah (from $80,000), to give you some examples from the US. Internationally speaking, it was also cheaper than in countries like Canada, Russia or Ukraine.
Even though gestational carriers in India were paid a reduced part of the total cost (about $5,900-9,400), it was actually considered a high sum in the country, keeping in mind that a third part of the total population lives in poverty. In fact, some women who had been surrogates in the past state that they wouldn’t have been able to sustain their family without this sum.
Surrogacy in India and Indian surrogates became increasingly popular amongst intended parents in industrialised nations because of the relatively low costs and easy access offered by Indian surrogacy agencies. Clinics charged patients between $10,000 and $28,000 for the complete package, including fertilization, the surrogate’s fee, and delivery of the baby at a hospital. Including the costs of flight tickets, medical procedures and hotels, this represented roughly a third of the price of the procedure in the UK and a fifth of that in the US. Surrogate mothers received medical, nutritional and overall health care through surrogacy agreements.
In 2005, the government approved the 2002 draft of the National Guidelines for the Accreditation, Supervision and Regulation of ART Clinics in India, in 2002. Before commercial surrogacy was banned in 2015, India was a popular destination for surrogacy. The economic scale of surrogacy in India is unknown, but study backed by the United Nations in July 2012 estimated the business at more than $400 million a year, with over 3,000 fertility clinics across India.
In 2013, surrogacy by foreign homosexual couples and single parents was banned. In 2015, the government banned commercial surrogacy in India and permitted entry of embryos only for research purposes. Shortly thereafter in 2016, a Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill was introduced and passed by Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament, proposing to permit only heterosexual Indian couples married for at least five years with infertility problems to access altruistic or unpaid surrogacy and thereby further banning commercial surrogacy. The 2016 bill lapsed owing to the adjournment sine die of the parliament session. The bill was reintroduced and passed by the Lok Sabha in 2019. The bill would require to be passed by the Rajya Sabha, upper house of the Indian parliament and presidential assent before it becomes an act and thereby a law.
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