Surrogacy in my mind raises one of the ultimate ethical dilemmas: does it represent what many regard as the ultimate right and evolutionary goal: the bearing of a child, or is it in fact the ultimate in female exploitation. It is a fact after all that the majority of women globally who carry surrogate babies are the poorest and least empowered in the world. India, having legalised commercial surrogacy fifteen years ago now has over 300 surrogacy clinics and is one of the largest providers of surrogate mothers in the world. This new bill, which threatens to ban foreigners, single parents and gay couples from using surrogacy services in India may be seen by some as long overdue. Others may feels that whilst it is clear a revision to the legislation is needed, what is being proposed ie a total ban, is far too draconian. Much greater regulation of the clinics may be a better solution. perhaps? Certainly there will be many UK nationals who are considering parenthood via this route who may have an anxious wait as this bills is introduced later this year.
With surrogacy bans already in place in Thailand and Nepal, it seems clear that the odds of the bill going successfully through parliament seem high.
The Indian government plans to ban foreigners, single parents and gay couples from using India's surrogacy services under a proposed law intended to protect poor women from exploitation.
Only infertile couples who have been married for 5+ years could seek a surrogate, who must be a close relative, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said.
Gay couples, single parents and foreigners would not be allowed to hire Indian women as surrogates under the proposed law which would have to be passed by both houses of parliament to become law.
India has become a popular destination for people wanting to have children using surrogate mothers, partly because its doctors and clinics broker the service at relatively low cost. Many of the women are paid a pittance of the money that is paid to clinics by anxious couples yearning to have a child.