New Delhi, Aug 11: The parliamentary standing committee on health, evaluating the surrogacy bill, suggested that homosexuals, single parents and live-in couples must be allowed to go for surrogacy. Criticising the government for prohibiting homosexuals, single parents, and live-in couples from commissioning surrogacy, the parliament panel suggested the department of health research to broaden the eligibility criteria. The panel also pitched for providing “adequate and reasonable” monetary compensation to surrogate mothers. Also Read - Unusual Surrogate Story: Grandmother Carried Baby for Son and Daughter-In-Law
Presenting a detailed report on the surrogacy bill in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the parliamentary standing committee head Ram Gopal Yadav said, “The committee observes that limiting the option to avail surrogacy facilities to an Indian heterosexual married couple to have their own biological child has overlooked a large section of the society.” “The committee recommends that the department should broad-based the eligibility criteria in this regard and widen the ambit of persons who can avail surrogacy services by including live-in couples, divorced women or widows,” the panel noted. Also Read - After Successful Uterus Transplant in United States, First time a Woman Give Birth to a Baby
The Union Cabinet had given its nod to the introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 in Parliament, seeking a ban on unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexuals from opting for surrogacy. Also Read - Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Expecting Third Baby Via Surrogate: 7 Times Kim Played a Doting Mother to Her Kids!
The committee also found “no point” in restricting NRIs, Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), Overseas Citizen of India OCIs) card holders from availing surrogacy services in India and recommended while foreign nationals should be kept out of the ambit of surrogacy bill, PIOs, OCIs and NRIs should be permitted to avail surrogacy services in the country.
The panel spoke out against altruistic surrogacy, where a surrogate mother agrees to gestate a child for intended parents without being compensated monetarily in any way. “Pregnancy is not a one minute job but a labour of nine months with far reaching implications regarding her health, her time and her family. “In the altruistic arrangement, the commissioning couple gets a child; and doctors, lawyers and hospitals get paid. However, the surrogate mothers are expected to practice altruism without a single penny,” it said.
The committee recommended that surrogate mother should be adequately and reasonably compensated and the quantum of compensation should be fixed keeping in mind the surrogacy procedures and other necessary expenses related to the surrogacy process. It said that the compensation should be commensurate with the lost wages for the duration of pregnancy, medical screening and psychological counselling of surrogate, child care support or mental advice for surrogate mother’s child, dietary supplements and medication, maternity clothing among others.
“The committee also recommends that in case the surrogate mother dies in the course of surrogate pregnancy or while giving birth to the surrogate child, additional compensation should be given to the kin of the surrogate mother,” it said. (With PTI inputs)