Court asks centre to consider suggestions on surrogacy laws
The Calcutta High Court Tuesday directed the central government to consider suggestions on surrogacy regulatory laws in order to protect the surrogate mother and the children born through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) regarding enactment of laws to govern the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) industry.
The PIL was filed before the division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi by India's Smile, an organisation fighting for the rights of surrogate mothers and children born through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure.
"Disposing of our petition, the court Tuesday directed the Union of India to consider the prayers that we made seeking regulation of the ART industry, including protection of the egg donors and surrogate mothers," petitioner's counsel Ajay Roy said.
"Because the UoI (Union of India) did not oppose our prayers, the court ordered our prayers be considered. It will also pave the way for passing of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2013, in the Rajya Sabha which was stalled due to the pendency of our petition," said Roy.
Among the prayers made by the petitioner are for dedicated provisions laying down rights of a surrogate mother or an egg donor, clarification on the legal parentage and status of children conceived through ART, as well a registry of all ART conceived children to non-resident Indians.
"Today's order will expedite the passing of the ART bill which is imperative. The absence of dedicated law allowed unscrupulous elements to exploit poor people. This will ensure the egg donors' interests are protected," said Rajeev Sarkar of India's Smile.
The 18th Law Commission in its report August 2009 claimed the ART industry to be a "25,000 crore rupee pot of gold".
"...it seems that wombs in India are on rent which translates into babies for foreigners and dollars for Indian surrogate mothers," the report said, emphasizing on the need for "legislation to regulate ART clinics as well as rights and obligations of parties to a surrogacy".
(Posted on 11-02-2014)