According to the bill, couples who have been married for at least five years and are infertile can seek a surrogate, that too from among close relatives. Foreigners, overseas Indians, single parents and live-in couples can’t.
The bill has guidelines for regulating clinics, provisions for providing legal aid to surrogate mothers and also simplifies issues of parentage.
The clearing of the bill seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest as strong voices – for and against the bill – have emerged. NDTV brings you the top 10 voices that are important to the surrogacy debate.
Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister
We have many examples of celebrities who have their own children, still they have gone for a surrogate child. I am pained to say that the procedure that started as a necessity has become a fashion these days. The trend of gay couples having surrogate babies “doesn’t go with our ethos”.
Farah Khan, Choreographer-Director, Had Triplets Via In-Vitro-Fertilisation
I don’t think any woman is doing it for fashionable reasons. I got married at 40. If I had waited I would have been 45. I had my babies at 43. If I had waited till 45, it would have been impossible for me. Are we now living in a country that tells us what to eat, how to dress, who you can have a child with?
Anupriya Patel, Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
What kind of families are these who are using women to earn easy money? The government wants to persuade surrogate women that selling bodies is not the only way to earn a livelihood.
Meena, Surrogate Mother
With price rise making lives of poor families like us difficult, I have planned to utilise the money for my children’s education. Why should I mop floors and earn Rs 3,000 a month when I am getting Rs 3 Lakh for this?
Subhashini Ali, President, All India Democratic Women’s Association
Renting-a-womb has become a commercial exercise and it shouldn’t be that way. There is certainly a need for regulation. The surrogate mother’s rights need to be protected.
Dr Nayena Patel, Akanksha Infertility Clinic, Gujarat
This is a social issue. I have taken up at least 25 cases within the family where there has been give and take of money within the family. Someone gives a jewellery set, someone gives a car. Nobody gives service without expecting something.
The choice becomes limited to find someone within the family as surrogate mother. If a sister doesn’t have a uterus, the daughter-in-law of the house could be forced to become a surrogate for her. What about the social pressure that she will go through?
JP Nadda, Union Health Minister
Non-negotiable is the exploitation of women. Abandonment of children should not take place.
It’s not a question of imposing moral values, its a question of righteousness. Technological advancement has to be used in the right perspective.
It is our responsibility to save the mothers by stopping exploitation. To take it to its ultimate end, whatever good idea or suggestions will come, we are open to it.
Shabana Azmi, Actress, social activist and a campaigner of equal rights for women
I think, in the current form, the bill cannot work and be passed. We cannot do this without enough debate and discussion. We cannot take away the rights of couples. Adoption is a great option, but why impose only one option to childless couples?
Rupal Tewari, Former Journalist Who Chose Surrogacy
As a young professional, I put marriage and kids on the back-burner (perils of working in the competitive and very demanding environment of TV journalism). I married at 35, and when – at 37 years of age – my husband and I decided to start a family, most doctors told us, I had missed the proverbial bus.
After going through an emotional and physically demanding roller-coaster ride for three years that involved multiple IUI and IVF failures, I had my first-born at 40, through surrogacy. I didn’t choose surrogacy so I could avoid putting on weight, or avoid labour pains, or simply because it was fashionable since Bollywood stars were doing it. On the contrary, for the rest of my life, I shall always carry the pain and regret of not being able to carry my own child. So surrogacy wasn’t my first, second or third option. It was my last resort.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research
While infertility is a growing problem in India, there are many different ways of making a family. Adoption can give happiness to a childless couple and also provide a home and a future for an orphan child.