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News: Petitioners in the Delhi High Court questioned why marital status, age, or gender were the criteria for being allowed to commission or not commission surrogacy in India.
About Surrogacy Act, 2021:
• It allows ‘altruistic surrogacy’ - wherein only the medical expenses and insurance coverage is provided by the couple to the surrogate mother during pregnancy.
• Creates a national board to lay down and implement a code of conduct for people working at IVF clinics.
• It intends to make genetic testing of the embryo mandatory before implantation for the benefit of the child born through ART.
• It also seeks to streamline the cryo-preservation processes for sperm, oocytes and embryos.
• It also proposes to constitute a national registry and registration authority to maintain a central database and assist the national board in its functioning.
What are eligibility conditions to get access to services of a surrogate mother?
• Any couple that has ‘proven infertility’.
• The couple should be Indian citizens who have been married for at least five years.
• The female must be between 23 to 50 years and the male, 26 to 55 years.
• They cannot have any surviving children (biological, adopted or surrogate). However, this would not include a ‘child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from life threatening disorder or fatal illness.’
Conditions necessary to be a surrogate mother:
• Only a close relative of the couple can be a surrogate mother, one who is able to provide a medical fitness certificate.
• She should have been married, with a child of her own, and must be between 25 and 35 years, but can be a surrogate mother only once.
Need for Surrogacy Act in India:
• India has emerged as a hub for infertility treatment. This attracted many underprivileged women to rent their wombs in exchange for money. However, unscrupulous middle men started exploiting such women. This called for a proper regulation.