The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, allows altruistic surrogacy after prohibiting commercial surrogacy. This Bill was enacted on Saturday, 25th December even after receiving the presidential assent.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said on the passage of the Bill in the Parliament, describing the Bill as ‘progressive’ and also said that this Bill aimed at ‘curbing the explanation of women’. So, why does this Bill take so long to be tabled and what are the debates that are still encircling the passage of the Bill. Let us focus on everything you need to know.
- THE TURBULENT ROAD TO ENACTMENT
Do you know that the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill and the Surrogacy Bill, both were once consolidated legislation that deals with productive medical practices? This Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha after listening to a group of women who wants to regulate the unmonitored surrogacy industry. But, the passage was blocked by the Rajya Sabha by relegating it to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for deliberation.
In 2017, Rajya Sabha suggested some progressive changes to the old legislation and these changes include a push for more bodily autonomy for women. And thereafter, the Union Cabinet cleared all the amended legislation and passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, on 26th February.
- WHAT DOES THE BILL PROPOSE?
This Bill proposes to have a National Surrogacy Board that will be involved in policymaking at the Central level and the state surrogacy board in State and Union territories. The legislation will now allow only ‘altruistic surrogacy’ that contains no additional monetary compensation to the surrogate mother. The next clause indicates that if a couple is seeking a child that is born out of surrogacy, then the couple should be married for at least 5 years.
There are some conditions to be fulfilled as per the Bill passed in 2019. These are stated below:
- Not allowed for commercial purposes
- The couple who have the ‘certificate of essentiality’ are allowed to be infertile.
- Not allowed for producing children for sale or any other business purpose.
All the offenses under the 2019 Bill are given as follows
- If you will practice commercial surrogacy, you will be imprisoned for 10 years and will be charged up to 10 lakhs.
- If you will abandon or exploit the child born out of surrogacy, you will be in jail for 10 years with a fine of Rs. 10 lakh.
- The exploitation of the surrogate mother will also lead to jail for 10 years along with a fine of Rs. 10 lakh.
- If you will sell, import, or trade the embryos or gametes for the purpose of surrogacy, it will also result in a jail term of 10 years and a fine up to Rs. 10 lakh.
Carrying out sex selection will also result in imprisonment of up to 10 years along with a fine of Rs. 10 lakh.