According to the latest draft law cleared by the government on Wednesday, childless couples cannot hire surrogate mothers or ask anyone but close relatives to carry their babies. Union minister Sushma Swaraj post a cabinet meeting in which the surrogacy law was cleared addressed the media and said, “There will be a complete ban on commercial surrogacy. Childless couples, who are medically unfit to have children, can take help from a close relative, which is called altruistic surrogacy.”
People who have not been allowed to have surrogate babies are foreigners, expatriate Indians, single parents, live-in couples and homosexual couples, once the law is passed. “Couple should be married and for at least five years,” said Swaraj. She added that surrogacy will not be allowed if the couple has children.
Taking a jibe at bollywood stars who have opted for surrogacy, she said “Celebrities are having surrogate babies, in spite of having two children, they had a third, just because the wife couldn’t take the pain, and got someone else to bear their child.”
Couple who get help from their relatives can only pay medical expenses. It is also yet to be defined who qualifies as a close relative.
Swaraj said it had been decided that foreigners would not be allowed to have surrogate babies from India, not even overseas Indians. “We have had cases of girls being abandoned, a twin being left behind and disabled babies being rejected,” the minister explained.
The draft bill, which aims at protecting the rights of surrogate mothers, will be introduced in parliament in the winter session.
The government had recently said in parliament that the law would make the process of surrogacy “legal and transparent”.