Troubling Gifts: Revisiting the Indian ART and Surrogacy Bills

October 2020 


Since the 1970s, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have offered a unique opportunity for millions of infertile individuals and couples around the world to complete their families. However, ART and related processes like surrogacy give rise to a range of legal and ethical issues that require thoughtful consideration particularly by policy makers. Although proposed legislation has been on the anvil for more than 15 years now, the Indian regulatory framework on ARTs and surrogacy consists of a patchwork of laws and regulations which fails to protect the most vulnerable actors in the ART sector. Medical guidelines issued by the Indian Council for Medical Research in 2005 were fairly liberal but subsequent laws like the ART Bills, 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 have become progressively limited and exclusionary. These legislative processes now appear to be culminating with the imminent passage of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, which is currently pending before the Rajya Sabha after having been reviewed by two parliamentary committees. 

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