All you need to know about Surrogacy in India

Surrogacy is a type of arrangement wherein an agreement is made between an intended parent and a woman who will be the gestational carrier. The woman herein is called a surrogate. In this arrangement, the surrogate carries the pregnancy to full term and delivers the baby for the couple. And the baby born will be genetically linked to the intended parents. People usually seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically contraindicated or when a pregnancy is high risk and presents an unwanted danger to the mother’s health.

surrogacy
Surrogacy

Commercial Surrogacy: What is it?

Commercial surrogacy is an agreement wherein a surrogate is compensated for her services, in addition to medical expenses that include the cost of medicines and the procedure. This type of commercial agreement between the surrogate and the intended couple may be complicated and may often raise debate.

Commercial surrogacy is a controversial topic. However practically if you think, and some critics may rightly argue that it is unfair for a woman to carry a baby for someone else and get nothing in return. In these nine months of journey, she will be bearing the child in her womb, bearing all the emotional and physical demands of pregnancy and then handover the child to the intended parents without any monetary benefit doesn’t make any sense. Some critics hence support commercial surrogacy.

India takes a move to ban Commercial Surrogacy

But questions have often been raised over the ethics of commercial surrogacy because surrogate advocates feel that this kind of compensatory practise is like taking advantage of vulnerable women. This in a way exploits the human reproduction mechanism and commodifies human life, by hiring a womb. In Hindi which we call as “kiraye ka kokh.”

However, before the Lok Sabha bill was passed international intended parents used to travel to India to seek inexpensive commercial surrogates, and the surrogate agencies used to make a deal where the surrogates would agree to carry a pregnancy for much less pay than those in western countries. The surrogates would only receive a fraction of the cost that the intended parents used to pay the surrogacy agency.

Due to lack of education and poor financial condition, the surrogates got attracted to the surrogacy process frequently for whatever little financial gain they received. Moreover, they were used as baby making machines year after year, and for this reason, their health conditions declined. They also did not receive any kind of supportive services during this emotional journey. They were subjected to unethical treatment, poor living conditions and exploitation. Hence the government decided to come up with a bill that aimed to put a stop on the exploitation of surrogate mothers.

Since then it is in pipeline that commercial surrogacy will be banned in India after the government passed the surrogacy (regulation) bill. This has now stopped foreign applicants from applying for surrogacy hence bringing an end to the culture of “rent a womb “or “fertility tourism” for foreign nationals seeking child, which was prevalent in countries like India and Thailand.

What does the Lok Sabha Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2016 say?

In 2016 Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, which ensures the protection of women’s rights and helps families who do not have children to have their own biological child.

  • It states that married Indian couples are eligible for surrogacy if at least one of them is facing infertility problems.
  • An infertility certificate needs to be provided by the intending couple within 90 days of applying for surrogacy process.
  • The bill also states that the intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of the spouses being infertile.
  • The surrogate mother must be a close relative who has been married and has had a child of her own.
  • No payment other than reasonable medical expenses can be made to the surrogate mother. This kind of arrangement is also called Altruistic surrogacy.
  • The bill also bans any form of surrogacy for a gay couple, single parents and unmarried couples.

Supporters of the new Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill say that this bill will protect susceptible women from being exploited by fraudulent agents who arrange surrogates for wealthy Indian clients or foreign nationals who in a way seek to avoid adoption queues. The aim of the bill is to stop commercial surrogacy but at the same time save families by allowing them to have children by using modern science. If the surrogacy law is passed, then commercial surrogacy will become illegal in India, and altruistic surrogacy encouraged.

Altruistic Surrogacy: What is it?

“Altruism” is defined as a selfless concern for the well-being of others, a quality that all surrogates must necessarily possess. This nature would help them to make the physical and emotional sacrifices demanded by surrogacy. That is handing over the child after his/her birth to the intended parents.

The term “altruistic surrogacy” generally refers to those surrogacy arrangements in which the surrogate does not receive any compensation for her services for carrying the baby in her womb other than reimbursement for medical costs and other reasonable pregnancy-related expenses.

Such arrangements are made between family members or close friends. If you see the cost part, then altruistic surrogacy is generally less expensive than commercial surrogacy because the intended parents do not pay their surrogate any compensation other than medical expenses.

Also, if you carefully analyse then the intended parents seeking a known altruistic surrogate may be at a greater peace of mind and have a strong sense of assurance throughout the pregnancy because it is being carried by a close family member or a friend.

Surrogacy Cost in India

The Surrogacy Cost in India will depend on the medical history of a couple, and which IVF surrogacy programme they are enrolling themselves. The available surrogacy cycles are mentioned below:

  • In case Self-eggs of the intended mother are used along with the uterus of the surrogate mother,
  • In case Donor eggs are used along with the womb of the Surrogate mother.
  • In case Frozen embryos are used along with the uterus of the surrogate mother.

 

Conclusion

Surrogacy can be a life-changing experience for couples who are looking for a child through a surrogate. IVF surrogacy brings a new ray of hope to couples who have undergone the pain of recurrent pregnancy losses or when other ART techniques have failed, or when their body were not ready to carry a pregnancy to term due to chronic health conditions or due to congenital uterine abnormality. In this case putting a blanket ban would not address the real need of these patients who have been advised surrogacy and could simply drive the surrogacy market to operate underground, making it worse for all concerned.

But now after considering the surrogacy regulation bill, a couple needs to be aware and henceforth bring only their close relative or close friend who has agreed to become a surrogate for them. And if a foreign intended parent is considering surrogacy in India then it is best to know and understand the surrogacy formalities, and hence avoid any kind of legal consequences.

To know more about the options for completing a surrogacy procedure we would recommend that you contact the right people, who can actually guide you through the surrogacy process. In case you have any queries or want to know about the surrogacy cost in India then you can contact us at contact@medicoverfertility.com or call us +91 7862800700, our fertility guide will help you get your questions answered.

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