The Central Government introduced Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2019 in the winter session of Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister introduced the bill, calling it a “The Game Changer”. The Bill aims at regulating surrogacy for the first time by prohibiting commercial surrogacy while allowing ‘altruistic surrogacy’.
“The Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha, makes “altruistic surrogacy” legal and commercial surrogacy illegal,” said the Minister. He further added: “In the absence of regulation, India has unfortunately emerged as the surrogacy hub for couples from different countries. As per a recent study, there are 3,000 illegal clinics and 2,000 foreign babies are born every year.”
The Minister said the purpose of the Bill is to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy. Its provisions include establishing National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Board and appointment of appropriate authorities for the regulation of practice and process of surrogacy.
Congress MP M.V Rajeev Gowda said: “My concern is that the complicated rules and regulations that have been brought in make it practically impossible for surrogacy to be used effectively.”
Gowda questioned certain provisions of the Bill. He further said: “There could be other medical reasons for a couple not being able to conceive, other than ‘proven infertility’, as the Bill states, like it being unsafe for the woman or premature menopause, etc.”
Professor Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party, Kahkashan Parveen of JD(U), P Wilson of DMK, and others also participated in the discussion. But the discussion remained inconclusive due to the disruptions in the proceedings of the winter session of Rajya Sabha.