India is fast becoming a favorite destination for surrogacy. India’s reproductive industry has been attracting infertile couples from all over the world. This is primarily due to relaxed legislation and low costs.
Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman agrees to carry and deliver another person or couple’s baby for a fee. A previously created embryo is transferred into the surrogate mother’s womb in a clinic set up. The sperm as well as the eggs can be either from the commissioning parents or they may be sourced from donors. For some couples battling infertility, this may be the only route for parents.
Medical experts always advise couples to think properly before opting for surrogacy. This helps as the couple can figure out if their infertility can be treated. Surrogacy is usually suggested if there are issues related to the uterus or it is absent. There may be women who have had various miscarriages and are unable to carry a child to full term. Any other illness like severe diabetes as well as hypertension also makes pregnancy difficult and almost impossible. In all such cases, surrogacy is the only option for parents to fulfil their dreams.
India does not have a legislated governing surrogacy. However, there are guidelines and the surrogacy agreement governs the contractual relation between the parties. Experts anticipate certain problems which may arise like the surrogate claiming the child as her own or enforcing parental visitation or custodial rights. Further the surrogate’s husband might claim the child. Hence, experts also advise to have a well drafted surrogacy agreement where the surrogate and her husband are counselled in their local language and making sure she understands her legal rights and liabilities.
The Indian government has drafted legislation as the ART regulation draft bill. The bill has not yet been implemented, however the proposed law has taken into consideration various aspects which include the interests of the new parents as well as the surrogate mothers. Currently the surrogate agreements are treated at par with all other contracts as per law. The couple/ single parent as well as the surrogate mother need to enter into a surrogate agreement which will cover all issues which will then be legally enforced.
A surrogate needs to be in the age group of 21-35 years and she should have had a maximum of 5 children including her own. A surrogate mother is restricted to have an embryo transfer to a maximum of 3 times for the same couple. In case the surrogate is married, her husband also needs to give a written consent for the same so that there are no legal or marital issues. A surrogate should be screened for STD, communicable diseases, and should not have refused blood transfusion in the last 6 months as this might have an adverse bearing on the outcome of the pregnancy.
All the pregnancy related expenses should be taken care by the parents who will take the baby after birth. Experts suggest that a surrogacy contract should include life insurance cover for surrogate mothers.