News reports are out hinting that the Maharashtra Medical Council is planning to come up guidelines for surrogacy arrangements. These guidelines shall have an impact on all surrogacy arrangements taking place within Maharashtra. Maharashtra Medical Council is a Statutory Body, established by the law of the State i.e. Maharashtra Medical Council Act 1965. Mumbai, the capital city of State of Maharashtra accounts for a large chunk of all surrogacies in India. There has always been much criticism that Mumbai clinics had made surrogacy very commercial. Many research workers and NGOs had earlier pointed to crude way of selection of surrogate mothers from slums in Mumbai, and the possibility of being exploitation.
Earlier Cases of violation from Mumbai
There have been blatant cases of violation from Mumbai. In 2012, A popular doctor known for international surrogacy arrangements is now facing charges for repeated using a very young girl for egg donation in the year 2012. The charges state that she had been donating eggs at the same hospital even when she was a minor. The girl had died after her last egg donation. She was aged 18 years at the time of the death. The doctor has now obtained a pre-arrest bail before a sessions court. Her employer is also facing charges of abduction along with the doctor.
In April 2014, several clinics in Mumbai had been seen flouting the Ministry of External Affairs rules by providing medical services for foreign commissioning couples, who have not obtained medical surrogacy visa. The Surrogacy Guidelines by the Maharashtra Medical Council may curtail any possible conflicts with regard to surrogacy arrangements.
Surrogacy Guidelines by Maharashtra Medical Council Laudable
This is the first time that a State Government in India has come up trying to regulate the surrogacy arrangements in India. State Governments had done little with regard to surrogacy arrangements or evern with regard to IVF centre. Earlier, the Tamil Nadu Government Directorate of Medical Services had required that all clinics providing IVF services to be registered with them. There is no clear number as to how many clinics had acually registered with them.
This move of the Maharashtra Medical Council is certainly laudable. Medical Councils and State governments need to take an active role that the IVF clinics stick to their core medical services, and not be involved with surrogacy arrangments as an agency.
Surrogacy Guidelines not available in the official website of the Maharashtra Medical Council
The surrogacy guidelines drafted by the Maharashtra Medical Council is not available at their official website. I have not had a chance to go through them yet. I shall keep the blog updated once I read through the Guidelines.