Has The Surrogacy Bill Been Passed In India?
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2019, was initially introduced in the Upper House (Lok Sabha) by the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and passed in the monsoon session. It was tabled in the Rajya Sabha, winter session but not passed, although all members agreed that it needed to be implemented. There were many shortcomings of the bill, which were pointed out by the learned members of the Rajya Sabha. It was recommended that a committee be set up to go into these issues and come up with a proper solution. The bill was then re-introduced and passed passed by the Lok Sabha in the Winter Session. It is now awaiting the nod from the Rajya Sabha, where it is likely to be tabled in the next session, Corona permitting.
What Are The Changes From The Original Bill Introduced In The Lok Sabha In The Monsoon Session?
Commercial surrogacy has been deemed illegal. The Bill Only allows altruistic surrogacy for needy, infertile Indian couples in which, no monetary compensation is allowed to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
We have still to locate any pregnancy package in India that gives pregnancy cover with immediate effect. The minimum lock-in period is 9 months. Logical. But the Bill talks about pregnancy cover. No clarification how that will be implemented. It is against the basic principles of insurance laws, so we wish them luck in implementing it.
The most significant change is the replacement of the word ‘close relative’ by the word ‘Willing person’. A very sensible change because it effectively discriminated against all those who had no relatives or no willing relatives. An aberration in the first bill, that begged correction. Thankfuly done. Atleast at the level of the Lok sabha.
Another significant aspect is that Only Indian Passport holders will be eligible for the Surrogacy program. The Union Health Minister has also asked the government to let Non Resident Indians (NRIs) opt for surrogacy in India under the provisions of the legislation.
There are those with OCI cards (Overseas Citizenship of India). These are foreign citizenship holders of Indian origin. They will no longer be eligible.
What Do These Changes Mean To Me As An Intended Parent?
Firstly, you can legally opt for Surrogacy service from a service provider in India.
However, your legal documents should clearly indicate that it is an altruistic surrogacy in which, there is no financial reimbursement of any sort to the ‘willing’ angel. If such a breed exists. Only the medical expenses and ‘insurance’ is to be paid for by the commencing couple. As I have mentioned earlier, there is no clarity on which vendor offers an instant insurance package to surrogates.
Well, looks like status quo, really. Nothing has changed on the ground, except that the parents can carry the perception that it will be a ‘free’ gift from the Union Health Ministry. Other than the medical expenses.