SurrogacyIndia’s focus is in fertility, not infertility. Making babies, is possible. ‘Possible’ is what we believe in.

Pages

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NATIONWIDE regulations are urgently needed to cover situations when Australians are engaging surrogates to have children for them.

The range of assisted reproductive technologies available today presents many legal, moral and ethical challenges. These are challenges we can no longer ignore and require national, state and international leadership.

In Australia, altruistic surrogacy is permitted in all states and the ACT, with the proviso that reasonable costs and expenses can be paid only. ACT, NSW and Queensland couples are prevented from seeking commercial surrogates outside Australia. The other states do not prevent residents from seeking surrogates on either an altruistic or commercial basis outside Australia. The Northern Territory has no surrogacy laws. All jurisdictions with surrogacy laws require counselling to be undertaken in some form but, at this stage, only Victoria requires background checking.

I have no doubt that over-whelmingly, babies born through surrogacy have loving, protective parents and families.

However, the recent case of baby Gammy highlights the need for clear and consistent policies that protect children from potential risks.

The arrest of a biological father of twin surrogate children in NSW this month further emphasises the potential risks to children. 

It is well known that predators can be very determined and will seek out ways to procure access to children. It is not unrealistic to consider surrogacy as one method to do this.

The current practise of surrogacy does not adequately consider the risks to the child, nor to surrogate mother or the intended parents.

We apply tests when people are working with children, or when they foster or adopt, so why don’t we consider this for children born into surrogate families as well? Australia is a party to the 1995 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, which sets out a range of standards for countries to follow that emphasise the best interests of the child and minimise the risk of exploitation and trafficking of children. A similar set of standards does not currently exist in the surrogacy space. 


Surrogacy is a pre-planned arrangement, often by individuals and couples who yearn to become parents and can involve different genetic contributions from the commissioning parents.

Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Australia ratified in 1990, children are afforded a range of rights, including the right to be safe and protected from harm, to be cared for and nurtured, as well as to know who they are and where they came from.  They also deserve robust legal guarantees in terms of citizenship and parentage. Given all this, effective and nationally consistent regulation of surrogacy, including suitability assessments, would provide additional safeguards for children who may be at risk.

There are other options, too, that would-be parents might like to think about. There are now more than 40,000 children in Australia’s out-of-home care systems. These  children desperately need families who can give them a sense of belonging, stability and love. Combined with great parenting, these are the things that will make the most difference for these children and allow them to reach their full potential.

Sources: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2591574/opinion-time-to-strengthen-our-lax-surrogacy-laws/?cs=308

Sixth Day of Navratri at SurrogacyIndia

SurrogacyIndia is celebrating the sixth manifestation of Goddess Durga worshipped on Navratri Shasti is ‘Katyayani’. The goddess is known as Katyayani because she was born to Sage Katyayan.  at SurrogacyIndia.


Maharashtra becomes 1st state to draft surrogacy guidelines

In a first, Maharashtra has got its own set of guidelines to regulate surrogacy in the state. A twomember team comprising top gynaecologists, appointed by the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), has formulated state-specific surrogacy guidelines and the draft was submitted to the council for scrutiny last week.

The team comprises eminent gynaecologist Dr Sanjay Gupte from Pune and gynaecologist Dr Bipin Pandit from Mumbai. The decision to form the guidelines was triggered in April, after the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) pulled up city's top three surrogacy clinics for flouting visa norms related to couples seeking surrogacy.

MMC has also planned to appoint a state-level committee as a watchdog and convert these guidelines into regulations so that action can be initiated against those flouting the norms.

"The guidelines cover all stakeholders in the process of surrogacy- mainly the surrogate, the couple commissioning the procedure and the doctor," said MMC president Dr Kishore Taori, adding that the draft has been passed, barring a few minor changes.

Surrogacy has continued to be in a grey zone with only a set of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines formulated in 2005. The Surrogacy Bill is in its final stages but pending in the parliament. Most doctors do not follow the ICMR guidelines properly due to absence of a watchdog.

Therefore, Dr Gupte and Dr Pandit have called for a watchdog committee, consisting of two MMC members, two representatives from the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) centres, arepresentative from the ART bank and arepresentative from an NGO.

"Besides, the couple commissioning the surrogacy should be married for at least two years, should have an authorisation from a doctor confirming fertility issues and a letter from the embassy stating that the baby will get a passport. The couple should be in the country on a medical visa," the guidelines stated.

According to Dr Pandit, surrogates mostly come from a poor background and their exploitation is common. The new set of guidelines states that a surrogate cannot rent her womb for more than three times, has to be between 21-45 years of age and the responsibility to certify that her womb is capable of child bearing rests on the ART centre. The guidelines also allow a relative of the couple to be a surrogate and make it mandatory for the couple to appoint a local guardian to take care of the surrogate.


IN FIGURES

♦ Mumbai has maximum number of surrogacy clinics in the country

♦ Couples from English-speaking countries such as the US, UK and Australia, form the largest chunk of the clientele.

♦ A couple has to shell anywhere between Rs 12-15 lakh for the procedure

♦ Well-known clinics in Mumbai take more than 100 surrogacy cases per year

Sources: http://mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/others/Maha-becomes-1st-sate-to-draft-surrogacy-guidelines/articleshow/43829143.cms

Monday, September 29, 2014

“There are 20 million infertile couples in India”

How long has the Bill on regulating ART been pending?

It is 15 years since efforts began to bring in a law to regulate the assisted reproductive technologies business in India. In Hyderabad, medically aware and responsible citizens came together to set up a group in 1995 to discuss issues pertaining to the ART business and met every single month. A high-powered committee by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) was set up which got dissolved; later, people’s participation in the drafting of the Bill was sought; consultations with various commissions — human rights and law — were done. Now the Bill has been finalized from our side a month ago. The Health Ministry received the final draft Bill by September 15. Now that the draft has been finalized and frozen, we have to wait and see what the Cabinet does with it. This Bill is absolutely crucial if the rights of couples seeking infertility treatment, medical service providers and other stakeholders involved have to be safeguarded.

Is there any data available on how many ART centers exist in India?

Unfortunately, no. The ICMR had identified nearly 1,200 ART centers across India. Only a small proportion of these are registered. My guess is it should be four or five times greater than what was identified.

What about the guidelines laid down by the ICMR for fertility clinics?

In 2005, the ICMR framed detailed guidelines to be followed by ART centers. However, at present, the ICMR guidelines have no legal standing. Over 20 million couples in India are infertile. It is a well-established fact that all over the world, between 10-15 per cent of couples in a population are infertile. This has resulted in hospitals and private clinics with offers for ART services mushrooming all over the country. But in the complete absence of legislation, there is scope for malpractices, and right now, there is no way to ensure that these centers follow the ICMR guidelines.

Could you give a few examples of the malpractices in this sector?

I shall narrate a true incident. I knew of a family in which the mother found her son to be infertile. Although the blame for not having a child usually goes to the woman, in this case, the mother was convinced the fault lay with her son, and she took her daughter-in-law to a fertility clinic. The daughter-in-law, it was decided by the family, would be inseminated with sperm donated by a family friend’s son. Because the identity of the donor was known, the daughter-in-law ended up having sexual intercourse with the donor and she became pregnant. This caused the family a lot of distress. But the daughter-in-law did this in order to save her family the expenses of the treatment.

In the draft Bill regulating ART, strict clauses that all donations of semen and egg must be anonymous have been included because as the example above demonstrates, knowledge of the donor can strain existing relationships.

There are other problems too. Many clinics do not test the semen for its quality. Besides affecting the quality of the baby born, diseases can be transmitted this way too. The Bill also restricts surrogate mothers from donating oocytes for reasons that the child should be the biological child of the commissioning parents. However, there are instances now where surrogates are also used as oocyte donors.

Rules and regulations have also been framed in the present Bill which lay down that the surrogate should register her own name in hospital. But the child’s birth certificate does not have the surrogate’s name in it and names the commissioning parent.

Due to the exploitation suffered by surrogate mothers, activists are demanding a ban on it. Yours views?

It is totally undesirable that there be a ban on this. However, rights of the surrogate mother have to be protected and the Bill ensures that.

Sources: http://www.thehindu.com/sunday-anchor/there-are-20-million-infertile-couples-in-india/article6453374.ece

Buddhists Debate Surrogacy Ethics

A seminar organised Sunday by Buddhism advocates heard that surrogacy and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures raise a number of moral questions and should not be encouraged.

Phra Fukit Chitipanyo, of Wat Jak Daeng in Samut Prakan, said surrogacy is often commercially exploited and those involved — especially brokers and surrogate mothers — are motivated by financial interests.

According to Phra Fukit, surrogacy and IVF are not in line with Samma-Ajiva in the noble eightfold path. Samma-Ajiva, or how to make a living ethically, involves the ethical principle of non-exploitation.

The monks' concerns were shared by guest speakers and participants of the seminar at Suan Mokkh Bangkok, in Chatuchak district.

Several participants agreed IVF procedures can lead to commercial exploitation of women as surrogate mothers.

The seminar took place in the light of a scandal involving 24-year-old Japanese businessman Mitsutoki Shigeta, who reportedly fathered 15 babies via Thai surrogates.

Phra Maha Kirati Thirapanyo, of Wat Pa Boonlom in Ubon Ratchathani, also raised concerns about the disposal of surplus embryos.

The monk said fertility clinics performing IVF procedures implant healthy embryos, but the unused ones are usually destroyed, left to die, or used in research.

Phra Maha Kirati said disposal of unused embryos is considered immoral and unethical by Buddhism advocates.

It is believed that life begins at the time an egg is fertilised by a sperm, he said, so destroying an embryo is tantamount to killing a human life which goes against Buddhist teachings.

As surrogacy has become a business with vast interests at stake, he said, it is important to examine the intentions of those involved when it comes to ethical issues.

Phra Maha Kirati was a physician before he joined the monkhood.

Phra Wichit Thammachito, of Wat Pho Phuek in Nonthaburi, said breakthroughs in medical technology have long posed a number of ethical questions.

He cited organ thefts as an example, following developments in organ transplant technology.

Buddhism advocates should adopt the "right attitude" towards these issues, Phra Wichit said.

It was also suggested that couples should adopt children instead of attempting to have them using surrogates because there are many abandoned children in need of homes.

Sources: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/434864/buddhists-question-ethics-of-surrogacy

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

The second day of Navratri

The second day of Navratri and Devotees at SurrogacyIndia worshiping goddess Bharmacharini by wearing an outfit in Green color. — atSurrogacy India.

Surrogacy booms in India; gov’t plans regulation

The Indian government is planning to introduce a bill that will address assisted reproduction methods such as surrogacy and in-vitro fertilization and provide a legal framework to regulate surrogacy in the country.

Activists say that surrogacy has become an unfettered multi-million dollar industry in India due to the absence of regulation.

It is estimated that every year, thousands of childless couples from around the world visit infertility clinics in the country and have agents arrange surrogate mothers to bear them children.
Unfortunately, the rights of the surrogate mothers, who are often poor and illiterate, are often violated.

Going through multiple pregnancies negatively affects the health of the surrogates, and the surrogates are often not paid the agreed-upon amount due to the absence of written contracts in many cases.
Nevertheless, many women become surrogates in order to escape poverty, and some are even coerced into surrogacy by their husbands in order to make some quick cash.

The new law will specify the number of pregnancies allowed for a surrogate, the minimum age to become a surrogate and the minimum compensation that a surrogate must receive.

It will also provide a framework for allowing foreigners to request Indian women as surrogates.

Sources: http://www.pangeatoday.com/surrogacy-booms-in-india-govt-plans-regulation/

Policy Recommendations To Regulate Commercial Surrogacy in India

In anticipation of the ART bill introduction in the coming winter session of parliament, the conference “A Policy Dialogue on Issues around Surrogacy in India” has been successfully held on the 22nd and 23rd September 2014 at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.
Surrogacy in India

The national conference, organized by the CSR in collaboration with Heinrich Böll Stiftung, gathered together representatives of all fields involved in the practice of surrogacy, including the medical sector (doctors and fertility clinic representatives: Dr. R. Bakshi from International Fertility Centre, Dr. N.H Patel from Akanksha Infertility Clinic, Dr. Bavishi, president of INSTAR, Dr. Sonia Malik, President IFS, and Dr. R.S. Sharma, Director of ICMR), the legal sector (national and international lawyers, as well as delegates of the Supreme Court of India), and members of the Government (Mr. P. Sudan, Ministry of Women & Child Development, Dr. V.M. Katoch, and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare). Representatives of the civil society, NGOs, researchers and human rights activists also attended.

Surrogacy in India

All parties have come together to address various ethical, medical, commercial and legal issues involving surrogacy, and debating upon the regulation that are still required for commercial surrogacy in India. Participants have had equal opportunity to share their opinion and expressing their view, which ultimately allowed them to bring forward recommendations for a future governmental policy regulation.

Surrogacy in India

The members involved agreed these policy recommendations should be practical in nature. They can be clustered in seven main spheres and are the following*:
Surrogate Mother
  • Surrogate remuneration should be standardised.
  • Provision of post-natal care for the surrogate mother should be mandatory.
  • Trafficking of women for surrogacy, its offence and punishment must be regulated.
Surrogate Child
  • Specific provisions ensuring protection of the foetus/child in case of abnormalities must be included.
  • The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, which forbids sex selection, must be enforced.
  • Surrogate child should have granted dual citizenship.
Intended Parent/s
  • Intended Parent/s shall be legally bound to accept the custody of the child irrespective of any abnormality that the child may have, and the refusal to do so should constitute a criminal offence.
  • Foreigners should be allowed to opt for surrogacy in India, but the country of origin of the intended parents must allow surrogacy.
  • The law should not exclude LGBT, single parents and unmarried couples.
Doctors and Clinics
  • Ensure clinics respect the legal limits applied for a woman acting as a surrogate in her lifetime, as well as those regarding hyper-stimulation and egg donation.
  • Guarantee complete transparency between the doctor and the surrogate mother with respect to any medical practice applied.
  • Strengthen doctors’ criminal responsibility.
Agents
  • Regulate the role and responsibilities of agents.
Contract
  • It should allow women flexibility to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies and ensure limited control from doctors.
  • It should also be in the vernacular language, and a copy of it has to be given to the surrogate mother.
  • All stakeholders should sign the contract, including the agent.
Other legalities
  • Counseling of all the parts involved in respect of medical, financial, legal, cultural and social aspects.
  • Creation of a nodal agency to act as depository of all documents and acts as grievance redress cell.
  • A central database or registration of surrogates for real information such as their permanent address, number of children, etc. should be maintained.
Your input is of crucial importance as it will help shaping the future law regulating surrogacy in India. We would be delighted to add any further recommendation, so please do not hesitate to email us at amikumar@csrindia.org.

Sources: http://csrindia.org/blog/2014/09/24/commercial-surrogacy-in-india/

Friday, September 19, 2014

Conference: A Policy Dialogue About Surrogacy In India

Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill 2010 continues to remain in incipient stages. The present guidelines are not binding and unable to fully regulate surrogacy in India. As a consequence, the parties involved have been so far left unprotected.

This multi-billion dollars industry requires urgent regulations in order to make surrogacy a safe, fair and coherent practice. To help overcoming the lack of legal protection, the CSR has organised a National Conference with associates and stakeholders experienced in the field of reproductive rights and women’s health issues, with the aim of drafting recommendations for a legal policy which can then be circulated amongst key stakeholders of the Medical, Legal and Political sphere. This is a unique opportunity for policy makers to explore the unregulated sides of surrogacy and to better foresee an action plan for future legislations.

Several points of the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill 2010 require further investigation. Here’s a non comprehensive analysis of rights and duties that will be discussed during the conference:
  • Both the couple or individual seeking surrogacy through the use of assisted reproductive technology, and the surrogate mother, shall enter into a surrogacy agreement which shall be legally enforceable. The contract however doesn’t have any legal value, and it’s often signed between the surrogate mother and the intended parents only (Only 3.3% of the concerned persons in the clinic in Anand and 5.6% in Surat said that they have been a part of such contract). Furthermore, surrogate mothers cannot negotiate any part of it. The exploratory study on surrogacy conducted by the CSR* shows that surrogate mothers also tend to sign the contract after they get pregnant (in their 3rd or 4th month of pregnancy). The study also shows the majority of the surrogate mothers are illiterate (51.7% in Anand and 8.6% in Surat) or have primary education (31.7% in Anand, 54.3% in Surat and 60% in Jamnagar) which shed doubt on the proper understanding of the contract. The surrogacy arrangement contract rarely addresses issues related primarily to the well being and health of the surrogate mother.
  • All expenses shall be borne by the couple or individual seeking surrogacy. The CSR study however highlights that the surrogate mother has to leave the shelter home immediately after she hands over the baby. Any further clinical consultation has to be carried out on her own expenses.
  • The surrogate mother may also receive monetary compensation from the couple or individual to act as such surrogate. The research shows that the surrogate mother doesn’t have the power of contracting the value of the compensation or any other part of it, and only 1-1.5% of the total compensation goes to the surrogate mother.
  • A surrogate mother shall relinquish all parental rights over the child. An overlap has been identified between parental rights and individual rights: it’s worth mentioning that surrogate mothers lose any power over their body during pregnancy. The surrogate may be forced to terminate the pregnancy if desired by the contracting couple and she will not be able to terminate it if it is against the desire of the couple. Also, in most cases the decision to relinquish the baby after birth is jointly taken by the commissioning parents and the clinic, whereas the situational analysis study shows that surrogate mothers do not seem to have any right to interfere in the decision-making process.
  • The birth certificate issued in respect of a baby born through surrogacy shall bear the name(s) of individual/individuals who commissioned the surrogacy, as parents. Problems about parenthood, citizenship and birth certificate have been identified in real life cases and some questions are left unanswered: will the child born to an Indian surrogate mother be a citizen of this country and why? Who arranges the birth certificate and passport required by the foreign couple at the time of immigration? Whose name will appear on the birth certificate?
These are few of the points included in the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill 2010 that will be addressed at the conference. The CSR study on surrogacy also allowed to bring forward recommendations for policy makers which will be further discussed on the day:
  • The surrogacy agreement should involve the three parties (surrogate mother, clinic, and intentional parents) and should consider the rights of the surrogate mother and the baby, as well as the responsibility of the clinic.
  • Adoption of a surrogate child should be clearly defined and regulated by law, and there should be a substantial regulation designed to protect the interests of the child legal recognition of termination and transfer of parenting rights.
  • The rights of the child should be protected in case s/he is not taken by the commissioning parents.
  • The surrogate mother should be provided with the copy of the contract as she is a party in the agreement and her interests should be taken into account.
  • There should be an interpreter (other than doctor) for the communication linkage between the surrogate and intended parents in order to convey the message from surrogate mother.
  • In case surrogate mother gives birth to twins she should be paid double amount or at least 75% of the price for the second child.
  • It is recommended that there should be a provision of intensive care and medical check-ups of their reproductive organs during the 3 months after pregnancy.
  • Health Insurance for both the surrogate mother and the child is essential to ensure a healthy life.
  • The government needs to monitor the surrogacy clinics, which generally charge arbitrary prices for surrogacy arrangements.
Dr Kumari, CSR director asks: Why should poor women be exploited and their vulnerability used for the pleasure of having one’s child by not exploring the option of adoption? If surrogacy has to continue as medical practice, I would opt for altruistic and non commercial surrogacy.

To explore these issues and many more, we invite you to participate to the National Conference on 22nd and 23rd September 2014, 10.00-16.30 at the Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The final aim is to publish and circulate a qualitative report on the conference proceedings and policy recommendations suggested by all the key stakeholders.

Join us in the debate! The conference is free and open to all individuals.
For further info, email: manasi@csrindia.org

Download the Complete Delhi & Mumbai , Surat-Gujarat Report of Surrogacy Motherhood: Ethical or Commercial?

 Sources : http://csrindia.org/blog/2014/09/18/surrogacy-in-india/

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Australian surrogate mothers discuss volunteering to carry another's baby

What does it take to have a baby for somebody else and then give it away? DAWN BARKER meets three Australian women who decided to become altruistic surrogates.

The saga of Gammy, the baby with Down syndrome left behind with his surrogate mother in Thailand, has highlighted the psychological and ethical complexities of the booming overseas commercial surrogacy industry. Commercial surrogacy within Australia is illegal, and NSW, the ACT and Queensland make it an offence to hire a surrogate overseas. Far fewer intended parents choose the legal option of using an uncompensated, or altruistic, surrogate: the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says that only 16 children were born this way here in 2010.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies recently published a study by Sam Everingham that surveyed 217 parents who either had, or planned to have, children through surrogacy. Almost half did not even consider uncompensated surrogacy, their main concern being that the surrogate might not give up the child (the birth mother is considered the legal mother in Australia, regardless of the baby's genetics).

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/australian-surrogate-mothers-discuss-volunteering-to-carry-anothers-baby-20140911-10a931.html#ixzz3DSAc6x4V

Friday, September 12, 2014

SI will be closed on 13th September, 2014

SI is not working tomorrow i.e. 13th September, 2014, hence there could be delay in reply to the emails.

However, you may always give us a call in an emergency situation.

Monday, September 8, 2014

SI is working Half day on 8th September, 2014

SI is working Half day today i.e. 8th September, 2014 on occasion of Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion) hence there could be delay in reply to the emails.

However, you may always give us a call in an emergency situation.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Swiss Gay Fathers Granted Parental Recognition in Landmark Surrogacy Ruling

While surrogacy remains illegal in Switzerland, two gay fathers fought — and won — precedent-setting parental rights by crossing their homeland's borders.

Argentine newborn Tobias Grinblat Dermgerd rests in his pram between his two fathers Alejandro Grinblat (L) and Gustavo Dermgerd, in front of the Registry Office in Buenos Aires. 
 
In a first, a Swiss gay couple have been recognized as the legal parents of a child conceived via an American surrogate mother,  despite surrogacy being illegal in Switzerland, reports the U.K.'s Pink News.

The two St. Gallen-based fathers, whose partnership is legally registered in their home country, chose to have their child through the artificial insemination of a donor egg by one partner's sperm. Both were listed as fathers on the U.S. birth certificate, after their California-based surrogate mother delivered the newborn and abdicated parental rights.

But when Swiss law still considered the surrogate mother and her husband the legal parents of the child, the two gay fathers petitioned the Swiss national registry for parental recognition, supported by their own local registry.

The Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) appealed the couple's petition, forcing the case to be decided by St. Gallen's administrative court earlier this month.

Last week, the court finally announced their decision to recognize the child's California birth certificate. However, according to Gay Star News, a note about the child's genetic surrogate parentage will remain on the record, in a partial acknowledgement of FOJ's complaint.

The justice department can still appeal the decision to Switzerland's supreme court, but has not yet announced any intention to do so.