Volume 4, Issue 11 | November-December 2017 ISSN: 2395-2547
 

Inside the Box


Surrogacy: wombs for motherhood
- Vishal Das

Surrogacy is explained as a method of medically followed reproduction and a treatment for infertility. The clear cut meaning of the word “surrogate” is “deputy or substitute”. “Surrogate mother” is basically a “substitute mother”, where she carries a pregnancy for a different couple, that is generally done through contract between the “surrogate mother” and “projected parents”.

TYPES OF SURROGACY:

Traditional SurrogacyThis type is usually the less costly form and also less common. Here the surrogate mother is impregnated with semen from the intended father or sperm donor and uses her own eggs. This depicts that the surrogate mother is genetically associated to the child. The insemination process can be conducted at home with the help of an insemination kit, or can be performed by a fertility clinic.

Gestational Surrogacy: This type is found to be more popular and effective method, this procedure involves in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the eggs of the intended mother or those of an egg donor. It means that the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child. This method is more complicated medically, so it tends to be more expensive than traditional surrogacy.

LEGAL ISSUES:

In 2006, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had put forwarded many clauses for accreditation, supervision and regulation of ART clinics in India. Below are the main points are mentioned

Surrogacy should normally only be an option for patients for whom it would be physically or medically impossible/ undesirable to carry a baby to term.

A surrogate mother should not be over 45 years of age. The ART clinic should ensure possible surrogate woman satisfies all the testable criteria to go through a successful fullterm pregnancy.  

No woman may act as a surrogate more than three times in her lifetime.

A relative, a known person, as well as a person unknown to the couple may act as a surrogate mother for the couple.

Traditional surrogacy is no longer allowed. The reason for this is that when the surrogate is also the genetic mother the risk of legal complications increases.

NRIs and foreign couples are required to assign a local resident who is in charge of the surrogate‘s welfare until the act of relinquishment.

Though surrogacy is a boon to our society, as the childless couple can bear a child with the help of IVF, but it has a bitter side too. Due to much less research done in this field of surrogacy, it lacks well-built laws. Though many issues of human trafficking and exploitation have received international attention, some, like surrogacy, have been overlooked. Surrogacy commodities both the surrogate mother as well as the baby, resulting in exploitation of the surrogate and a parental situation that is not in the best interest of the child. Surrogacy inherently transforms a woman’s body into a bread oven, a commodity, to be used and cared for while it is useful, and to be forgotten once the “contract” is fulfilled. Several countries have already taken steps to significantly limit or ban surrogacy. So more government initiatives should be taken for surrogacy so that no one can misuse it.

GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES NEED TO BE TAKEN IN INDIA:

The government should look into some well-built law on surrogacy to maintain the constitutional rights of the stakeholders considering the social, legal and ethical dynamics of this sensitive subject for the formation of a progressive regulatory framework. Legislation should be there so that this wonderful procedure can be supervised and it is being done by the right people for the right people. There should be some strict rules regarding exploiting women for forced surrogacy.

Vishal Das is a Research Scohlar at CSIR-North east institute of science and technology, JORHAT.