Regulating Reproductive Technologies: A Blow to Inclusive Family Forms

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 was tabled in the Lok Sabha in September 2020. It was referred to the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, which submitted its 129th report on the ART Bill, 2020 on 17 March 2021. This article critically engages with the recommendations of this report.

Attempts at regulating assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), including one of its more controversial applications, namely surrogacy, are nearing fruition. Guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research in 2005 and subsequent bills on ART (2008, 2010, 2014) all covered ARTs, including surrogacy. However, in 2016, amidst growing concerns over women’s exploitation as surrogates and in light of a public interest litigation (PIL), namely Jayashree Wad v Union of India (WP [C] No 95/2015), filed before the Supreme Court to ban transnational commercial surrogacy, the government banned foreign commissioning parents from accessing surrogacy in India through administrative fiat. It announced a separate bill on surrogacy, extracting it out of the larger domain of ARTs.

Sneha Banerjee ( teaches at the Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad. Prabha Kotiswaran ( teaches law and social justice at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, United Kingdom.

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