NEW DELHI : Live-in couples and widows should be allowed to avail surrogacy service in addition to legally married Indian couples, a parliamentary panel said on Thursday and pitched for providing “adequate and reasonable” monetary compensation to surrogate mothers.
It also spoke out against altruistic (showing a disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others) surrogacy, where a surrogate mother agrees to gestate a child for intended parents without being compensated monetarily in any way.
Expecting a woman to be altruistic enough to become a surrogate and endure all hardships of the surrogacy procedure in the pregnancy period and post-partum period is “tantamount to a form of exploitation”, it said.
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 that while foreign nationals should be kept out of the ambit of the bill, PIOs, OCIs and NRIs should be permitted to avail the services in the country.
The cabinet had given its nod to introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, in Parliament.
“Foreigners as well as NRIs and PIOs who hold OCI cards have been barred from opting for surrogacy,” external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had told reporters after the approval of the bill by the Union cabinet in 2016.
The committee observed that the decision to keep live-in partners out of the purview of the bill is indicative of the fact the bill is not in consonance with “present day modern social milieu that we live in and is too narrow in its understanding”.“The committee recommends that the department broad-base 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,” it said.
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