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Monday, November 3, 2014

Surrogacy bill to be tabled in winter session

The Indian surrogacy sector will be more streamlined with the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill being tabled in the upcoming winter session of Parliament. This is step has been taken after much debate among health officials. So far, there was only the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines.

The ART Bill remained the main topic of discussion of the first annual conference of Indian Society for Third Party held on Sunday in Juhu.

Dr Himanshu Bavishi, president of ISTAR, said, "The conference was to discuss the guidelines and to understand them. It is to help the doctors to understand the impact on the Indian Third party."

Though divided, most of the doctors agreed that the surrogacy industry needs to be regulated to ensure good health of surrogate mothers.

Speaking at the event, Dr RS Sharma, ICMR, said that the ART Bill will take care of the couple/individual seeking surrogacy and the surrogate mother and the unborn child's rights. Sharma, however, kept tight-lipped about the amendments made in the ART Bill, 2014. The ICMR, which drafted the ART (Regulation) Bill and Rules in 2008. It was later updated in 2010 and 2013. Presently, India has a Rs900 crore flourishing business of surrogacy, which according to experts is growing at 20% every year. Each birth costs Rs12 lakhs, out of which, a surrogate mother gets only Rs3.5- 4 lakh, apart from Rs5,000 a month, for her food and nutrition supplements.

For the first time, the Bill would include compensation a surrogate mother is entitled to. Currently, there is a lack of legal clarity surrounding the age of a surrogate mother. The proposed Bill intends to set a clear minimum and maximum age limit for the surrogate mothers. The doctors have recommended that 21 be the minimum age and 40 the maximum for being a surrogate.


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