The National Commission for Woman has given its opinion on the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2014 as part of the consultative process in consultation with the Ministry of Law and Indian Council of Medical Research. The two core recommendations are that commercial surrogacy must be allowed only for Resident Indian Nationals and that a woman must ed to be a surrogate mother irrespective of the marital status.
Surrogacy only for Indian Nationals
The National Commission for Woman has recommended for ban on foreigners, including PIO and OCI on taking up surrogacy in India as part of the consultative process in the opinions on bill. The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2014 does not allow commercial surrogacy for foreigners, but allows PIO and OCI to take up commercial surrogacy. The reasoning given by the commission is that it would curb commercialization of surrogacy. In my opinion, allowing surrogacy for foreigners and Overseas Citizens of India does not in any manner commercialize surrogacy than what it already is. Surrogacy arrangement/agreement is a private transaction between two parties, the surrogate mother and the intended parents. There is no need for a governmental interference thereby limiting the right of the parties to transact with one another.
Single Woman be surrogate mothers?
Surprisingly, the Commission recommended that single woman, irrespective of their marital status must be allow to be surrogate mothers. If only married woman can be surrogate mothers, it would restrict the reproductive autonomy of a woman is the reasoning, which seems quite unacceptable. We have always recommended that the surrogate mother must have been married, begotten children for herself and must have completed her family. This would facilitate the surrogate mother to return to her family after handing over the child to the intended parents. Medically also, it is a prerequisite that the surrogate mother has proven fertility, which would mean that she has earlier pregnancy. If the surrogate mother has not had children earlier, she would not know what to expect out of a pregnancy and might find it difficult to cope up with the process.