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'Surrogate mothers should get minimum compensation'

Posted on Apr 21 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, April 21 : A group working for the cause of infertility and third party assistance Monday called for a standard compensation amount for surrogate mothers, and recommended Rs.2.25 lakh as the minimum amount irrespective of city or state she lives in.

This key recommendation, which is not mentioned in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, is one of the many suggested by infertility experts, lawyers, embryologists and social workers from 15 states.

"ICMR guidelines cannot be imposed, as surrogacy is still not a law in India and they are just guidelines. So, through our recommendations, we are trying to self-impose them," said Himanshu Bavishi, president of the Indian Society for Third Party Assisted Reproduction (INSTAR).

Bavishi was speaking at a conference "Surrogacy Builds Families", organised at the India Habitat Centre here.

He said the INSTAR recommendations do not deviate much from the existing ICMR guidelines, except for the compensation.

"Full compensation after 28 weeks irrespective of the outcome of the pregnancy should be provided. Also, free of cost post-delivery care for six months in relation to pregnancy should be given," he said, mentioning the other recommendations.

Some other recommendations include post-miscarriage free care for three months and compensation for the next month of pregnancy and all medical expenses paid in case a miscarriage occurs.

"There is no law binding each and every process involved in surrogacy. But, surrogacy is being practised for many years, and it is absolutely legitimate in India. Thousands of babies are born through surrogacy," Bavishi added.

He said the government has tried a lot to enact a law, but it is pending in parliament.

Mary Lepcha, a surrogate mother who was introduced to surrogacy by her cousin, said the entire procedure brought immense happiness to her.

"I have been married for eight years and have two children of my own. But when I got to know about surrogacy, I decided to help someone who did not have a child of her own. My husband too was supportive of the plan," the 27-year-old Lepcha told IANS.

Lepcha, who has been a surrogate mother for close to one-and-a-half years, gave birth to a girl child for an Australian couple.

"I would love to do it again for someone," the Class 10 pass-out added.

A walk was also organised by INSTAR Sunday to raise awareness about surrogacy, and highlight the fact that families of surrogate women are supportive of their decision.

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