The challenges and rewards of surrogacy

Each surrogacy experience means something different to everyone. Here’s everything you need to know before you take that step
Actress Priyanka Chopra with her pop star husband Nick Jonas (Photo | AP)
Actress Priyanka Chopra with her pop star husband Nick Jonas (Photo | AP)

BENGALURU: Any women and men struggle with infertility and other health difficulties, making childbirth difficult for them. A strong desire to have children, on the other hand, leads to other options. We live in a time where technology has improved and the number of possibilities available has grown, with almost all improbable automation evolving over time.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas
had their first child through surrogacy.

Although each surrogacy journey is as special as the people involved, and the experience means something different to everyone, there are also numerous physical, emotional, financial, and legal problems to consider while considering a surrogacy agreement.

The advantages of surrogacy seem self-evident to hopeful parents: it allows them to realise their goals of becoming parents.

  1. Surrogacy brings families together: Surrogacy is often the answer to years of unsuccessful attempts to start a family for those who have struggled with infertility, LGBT couples, and those with medical issues that make pregnancy dangerous.
  2. Enables genetic ties to be made: One or both parents may be able to preserve a biological bond.
  3. Better transparency: Legally binding contract defining everyone’s expectations will be developed and signed prior to the embryo transfer, so everyone understands precisely what to expect during the surrogacy process.
  4. Assures participation in the process: Intended parents are frequently allowed to take part in check-ups and key milestones such as embryo transfer and birth.
  5. High success rates: Surrogacy often helps in the delivery of healthy pregnancies.

There are also some negatives to consider for hopeful parents:

  1. Surrogacy can be a difficult process: To ensure the process is conducted safely and lawfully, it is critical to engage closely with a trustworthy specialist.
  2. Necessitates relinquishing some power: While intended parents often have more control and engagement some control needs to be sacrificed.

(The writer is a senior consultant - Gynaecologist & Reproductive Medicine at Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road)

Here are a few legally binding facts to know:

The Surrogacy (Regulation)

Bill is about surrogacy, which is an infertility therapy in which a woman serves as the surrogate mother. Treatments can be obtained by the commissioning couple themselves in ART, and a third person is not necessarily required.

  • The Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill (ART), 2021, establishes guidelines for the safe and ethical use of assisted reproductive technology in the country and makes married couples, live-in partners and single women all eligible for RT procedures. They will be regulated by the National Board for advisement, regulation, reviews of regulations, guidelines, etc.
  • Sex selection and sex determination are likewise prohibited under the measure.
  • The Surrogacy Bill now allows “willing woman” instead of “near relative” to be a surrogate mother, and suggests that widows and divorced women, as well as infertile Indian couples, might benefit from its provisions.
  • The new legislation prohibits commercial surrogacy in India but allows altruistic surrogacy,
  • which involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
  • To safeguard the rights of a surrogate, the bill proposes an increase in the insurance cover timeline for surrogate mothers to 36 months from 16 months provided in the earlier version. In the first draft, tabled in 2019, the government intended to allow only altruistic surrogacy with the surrogate being a near relative. It is still unclear whether this has been changed or not in the approved bill.
  • And, in order to complete the process, both parties must apply to the National/State ART board and receive approval on a case-by-case basis.

The bill regulating surrogacy, also strictly prohibits commercial surrogacy.

Even soliciting surrogacy in a commercial manner is now considered illegal.

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