Monday, 17 March 2014

Surrogacy: Legal Issues and Ethical Considerations

In 2013, the Supreme Court of India concluded that the citizenship of the child born through surrogacy process will have the citizenship of its surrogate mother. Under the legislation, it banned surrogacy to single persons, homosexual couples, foreign single individuals and couples in live-in relationships.

But, the landmark decision also derived certain rights to the surrogates wanting to rent their wombs to infertile couples. Under Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Bill, women in India were benefited under commercial surrogacy so as to protect the legal and ethical issues related to surrogacy and nationality of the child born out of ART.

Pahlajani Surrogacy Center ensures that no woman less than 21 years of age and above 35 years acts as a surrogate, women with more than five successful births, including of their own children are considered ineligible for surrogacy, and two-year interval between two deliveries mandatory for surrogate mothers, and surrogates cannot undergo embryo transfer for more than three times for same couple. Surrogates are also tested, HIV, Hepatitis A and B, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and other genetic diseases before the process.

Rights of Surrogate mothers 

Surrogate mothers could retain the rights of insurance, medical and living cost during the pregnancy period from the infertile couple. Surrogates also have the right to terminate her pregnancy at any month owing to some medical complications. However, if the termination occurs without medical but other reasons then the surrogate would be subject to reimburse the cost to the infertile couple.

In case the first embryo transfer fails in the surrogate mother, she has right to decide (on mutually agreed financial terms) whether to accept at most two more successful embryo transfers for the same couple. The recipient couple, staying outside India, would be obligatory to appoint a local guardian for the surrogate carrying their child responsible to take care of the mother.Also, only Indian citizens have the right to act as a surrogate, and Pahlajani Surrogacy Center does not encourage/allow an Indian for surrogacy in abroad.

Rights of Infertile Couple seeking Surrogacy 

At Pahlajani Surrogacy Center, the Infertile couple are ensured to be the biological parents of the child born through surrogacy process, the surrogate would have no parental right on the child and would not be allowed forced communication with the child. However, the child can establish a communication after reaching adulthood. The couple seeking surrogacy also has right to access information about family and medical background of the surrogate.The birth certificate issued in respect of a baby born through surrogacy is issued in the names of the couple who commissioned the surrogacy and addresses them as parents. The couple who has availed of the services of a surrogate mother is legally bound to accept the custody of the child/children irrespective of any abnormality that the child/children may have.

Under the law, Pahlajani Surrogacy Center does not give services of more than one surrogate to a single couple and does not allow simultaneous transfer of embryos in the woman and in a surrogate.Also, the foreigners seeking surrogacy services in India are made to provide written proof that their home country permits surrogacy, and it is ensured that the child born through surrogacy in India will be permitted entry in their home country and have legal rights under the law of the country. Pahlajani Surrogacy Center also ensures safeguarding the caste, ethnic identity and descent of both the surrogate and infertile couple. 

Dr Neeraj Pahlajani

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