HYDERABAD: On a day when the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it would no longer permit foreigners to have children through surrogate mothers in India, State Women’s Commission of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana chairperson Tripurana Venkataratnam said surrogacy had been made a commercial activity and demanded enactment of a legislation to regulate surrogacy so as to protect the health and interest of women.
Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, she said “Treating a woman’s womb as a commodity is violation of human rights. There must be an Act which can regulate the activities of infertility clinics and the surrogacy industry. Those interested in having babies through surrogacy should have them through their family members and relatives. This would ensure that poor women are not exploited.”
She added: “In most of the cases when a couple approach infertility clinics to get a baby through surrogacy, the agents target poor, illiterate, Dalit and tribal women. They convince them to give a baby through surrogacy and poor women’s decisions are influenced by their financial needs. Though the agents collect lakhs of rupees from the childless couples, these poor surrogate mothers are hardly paid just a few thousands or, at the most, a lakh of rupees.”
Talking about the health problems that women suffer in surrogacy, she said, “There will be no one to provide medical care to the mother after delivery. Also, after one or two births, there are chances that the surrogate mother can suffer from cancer. Who will take care of her if her health deteriorates later?”
Venkataratnam said the State Women’s Commission of AP and Telangana was planning to conduct a consultation by inviting women representatives and interested NGOs to discuss issues of surrogacy. “We are going to conduct a consultation, mostly in the first week of November, and will send recommendations to the national commission on behalf of AP and Telangana,” she said.
‘Rapists should be Castrated’
Castration is the best solution to curb sexual violence against women and children, Tripurana Venkataratnam said. Reacting to a statement made by a Madras High Court judge on castrating proven offenders as punishment, she said, “Even when it comes to the law, people talk about human rights, but what about the human rights of rape victims? There must be a deterrent punishment and castration is the best solution. Every time someone thinks of committing such heinous crimes, having these kinds of punishment will discourage them.” Replying to a query on whether such kind of punishment will be approved by the judicial system, she said “Human rights activists are against the punishment but people like us are supporting it. I doubt that something like that will be implemented in the near future.”