- Bill proposing ban on commercial surrogacy awaits parliament nod
- Surrogacy business booms after bill passed in Lok Sabha
- Activists fear that the ban will push surrogacy underground
Gurugram: Couples and individuals who desire to become parents via surrogacy are making quick calls at surrogacy clinics, especially after the Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar announced that he became a father of twins with the help of surrogacy.
Dr Kaberi Banerjee, an IVF specialist said, “A lot of patients have started calling in with queries, most are asking about the legalities of surrogacy.”
The Surrogacy Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha last year, proposes a ban on commercial surrogacy in India. It also warrants that only needy infertile couples can go for altruistic surrogacy, that too on strict regulations.
As the Bill awaits a nod from the Parliament, many see this time as a small window of opportunity to live their parenthood dream.
For 35-year-old Priyanka, surrogates come as the only hope. In her four years of marriage, she suffered four miscarriages.
According to the doctors, her congenital heart disease could put her life at risk if she conceives.
“Altruistic surrogacy will not work for me because both my husband and I are single children and I cannot put my 60-year-old mother through a pregnancy,” said Priyanka, for whom surrogacy was the only option as she wanted a child with her DNA.
“I’m very excited that my surrogate is 19-weeks pregnant, but what would happen to all those who can’t conceive once the ban comes into effect,” she asked.
The bill was introduced to protect women from exploitation and ensure that the rights of children born through surrogacy are protected, but the stories at surrogacy homes, reveal another side.
Phones at a Gurugram-based surrogacy home haven’t stopped ringing and business has increased manifold ever since the Surrogacy Bill was introduced last year in the Lok Sabha.
Dr Yugal Kishore, manager of the surrogacy home, told NDTV that there has been a at least a three-fold rise in clientele and the supply of surrogates has also increased.
“Many couples and single women have been calling and asking me for surrogates. They all say that once the ban is imposed, they will not be able to realise their parenthood dream’, Mr Kishore said.
Mr Kishore’s surrogacy home previously housed only three surrogate mothers, but in the last four months, there has been an addition of five more surrogates.
Neelima, a surrogate mother said that with the money that she would earn through surrogacy, she will be able to meet the financial expenditure of her family and give her five-year-old son a better future. It’s a win-win situation for the couple-in-need and also for the surrogate mother, she said.
Many activists also fear that the ban on commercial surrogacy will push it underground.
Sarojini NB, Director, Resource group Sama, said that altruistic surrogacy with close relatives, that is, within the family needs to be looked into carefully. “There is enough evidence that show exploitative nature of the family as an institution. A woman may be subjected to various kinds of patriarchal pressures, including coercion to act as surrogate,” she was quoted as saying by the news agency IANS.
However, Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister, had earlier said that it has become fashionable to have a child through surrogacy.
“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,” she had said.