BENGALURU: Couples who had pinned hopes on surrogacy as an option to become parents are now planning to go to court to challenge the newly passed Surrogacy Bill. The bill says only legally married couples who have been medically proven infertile can opt for surrogacy. It bans commercial surrogacy, and allows only “altruistic surrogacy”.“The bill basically has tried to ensure that people trying to misuse surrogacy commercially should be curbed. But the Bill has many loopholes which has to be addressed, otherwise many couples will lose their chance of being parents,” said Dr B Ramesh, IVF and infertility specialist.
Meanwhile, Sarika N A and Govind Bhat, software professionals who have been married for six years, and who were thinking of surrogacy as an option have now decided to talk to associations concerned to take the matter legally.“We had almost finalised on this process with our doctor and now we are shocked with this bill. It is ridiculous. How can government interfere into someone’s personal choices? Which relative would agree to bear the whole of pregnancy? We will definitely go to court against this and also explore other options,” said Sarika.
Dr Ramesh explained that the bill also allows only a ‘close relative’ to be a surrogate mother. The bill denies the right to have a child to couples who do not have a close family unit, family support, or family members who would be willing to support them by becoming a surrogate mother.
“In India, inter-caste and inter-faith couples are often shunned by their families for breaking societal norms. Going by the terms of the bill, these couples will not be able to opt for surrogacy. Also this is even worse than a renal transplant or other kind of transplants as it is the responsibility of the woman to carry the baby for nine months. Which relative would agree to do this?” Dr Ramesh asked.
Meanwhile, the bill has also shattered the dreams of single, same-sex couples and live-in couples wish to become parents. Hence, people are barred from opting for surrogacy on the basis of their sexuality, marital status, and gender identity.
According to the bill, only heterosexual couples, who have been married for at least five years, and have been medically certified as infertile, are allowed to opt for surrogacy.Akkai Padmashali, the face of transgender welfare in Karnataka, said, “What is wrong if we want to be parents and decide that surrogacy is the option? Why should it be considered abnormal or impossible? Same sex couples and live-in partners have been denied the rights now according to this law. I don’t approve of it.”
The draft law has a provision of imprisonment up to 10 years along with a heavy fine, in order to curb unethical practices, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy, exploitation of surrogate mothers, and trafficking of women for surrogacy.