I am coming across news-reports telling me that the Winter Session of the Parliament might actually be passing the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill, 2013 (ART Bill). The Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill is pending for more than 4 years now. The ART Bill has undergone atleast two revisions, but there still seemed several loopholes the last time I read through it. I did not get the idea that I was reading the final draft of the ART Bill and several changes to Bill might be appropriate. I shall certainly try to make a blog-post on the possible improvements to the Bill that would be more practical for the given scenario.

To be frank, I am not convinced of the news report. There have been several instances in the past where the newspapers reported that the Bill was going to be introduced in the Indian Parliament for debate, but nothing actually came out of it.

If India is passing the ART Bill, it could be changing the infertility scenario globally.

Yes, I mean every word of it. After India restricted commercial surrogacy for married couples only, I came across several couples who were not able to afford commercial surrogacy in the US and the same time, did not want to look at a different destination. India had created a niche for itself by being safe and secure as far as commerical surrogacy was concerned. When India disallowed commercial surrogacy for gay couples, it was indeed a big blow for several of them. What I am trying to point out is, Indian Fertility Laws mattered and matters even more now globally.

If India is now coming up with a special legislation, it will matter to a lot of infertile couple around the globe. The fertility laws in India would attract a lot of attention and would have an impact on the way have their family.

India may be the first country to allow commercial surrogacy by way of a legislation

Barring Isreal, I am not sure which other nation has actually passed a law that allows commercial surrogacy. In most nations where legislations allowing surrogacy has been passed, commercial surrogacy has been made illegal. In many conservative states surrogacy arrangements by themselves are considered to be a criminal offence, irrespective of whether it is altruistic or commercial surrogacy. Surrogacy has been subject of political and social criticism in many nations and the Governments have always had a tough time with the laws pertaining to surrogacy.

Given this scenario, if india passes the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill, India may be first country to actually allow commercial surrogacy arrangements by way of a legislation.

The following issues may be covered in the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill

  • Age limits for the surrogate mothers
  • Minimum compensation payable to the surrogate mothers in surrogacy arrangements
  • Eligibility criterion for International Couples to take up surrogacy arrangments in India

I hear that the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2013, has been cleared after rounds of discussions with various ministries and other stakeholders and will be presented before the Union Cabinet soon. Secretary (Health Research) VM Katoch is said to have spoken at a national conference on surrogacy of the same.

I hope that the wait for the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill is worth it and that the law brings in regulation for the protection of the surrogate mother and the commissioning couples.

 

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