Tracing the journey, and flaws, of the surrogacy bill

The government has tried to regulate surrogacy for over a decade. Starting with the permissive 2005 guidelines of the Indian Council for Medical Research, the government has proposed increasingly restrictive bills in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 and has, through notifications of the ministry of home affairs, sought to exclude prospective parents on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation and citizenship. These efforts culminated in the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016

Said to reflect the “ethos of the Indian people”, the bill, unlike in the past, dealt exclusively with surrogacy rather than with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) broadly. It banned commercial surrogacy, only permitting altruistic surrogacy, that too performed by a close relative of the couple, where the latter bears the medical expenses and insurance costs.

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