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Need for legal framework to regulate surrogacy: CSR

Posted on Aug 21 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 21 : There is an urgent need for a rights-based legal framework to regulate surrogacy in India, an organisation working for social causes said Thursday.

"The unregulated reproductive tourism industry of 'procreating' through surrogacy is rapidly increasing in India while there is still no legal provision to safeguard the interests of all the major stakeholders involved in the surrogacy arrangement," the Centre for Social Research (CSR) said.

According to a study conducted by CSR in 2011-12, it was revealed that though the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill, 2010 did bring forth certain important points for the legal framework to be based on, it left out many crucial issues relating to surrogacy arrangements, a release by CSR said.

"There are many issues besides sex selection and exploitation of the poor surrogate mothers. There are countries that do not allow surrogacy. What would the nationality of the child be when the intended parents are from that country? About 48 percent couples opting for surrogacy are foreigners," said CSR director Ranjana Kumari.

The 'rent-a-womb' procedure has thrown up a major debate on whether it should be banned like a majority of countries have done or should there be a law to regulate it.

"There have been cases when many countries refused to give citizenship to children who were born through surrogate mothers in India. We need to have a proper legal framework to decide on the rights of the child, surrogate mother and the couple who becomes the custodian of the new born," Ranjana Kumari added.

Slowly but steadily, India is emerging as a popular destination for surrogacy arrangements for many rich foreigners.

Cheap medical facilities, advanced reproductive technological know-how, coupled with poor socio-economic conditions, and a lack of regulatory laws in India in this regard combine to make India an attractive option, she said.

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