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Govt to give guidelines for surrogate mothers PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Indian Express   

New Delhi, June 24: The government will bring together legal and medical experts on Tuesday in an effort to formulate regulatory guidelines for surrogate mothers.

With increasing number of women opting to rent a womb, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has planned the consultation programme.

An area of concern for experts is that many young girls are opting to become surrogate mothers. So issues like minimum age limit and health conditions that need to be considered will come up for discussions.

"There is an increasing number of cases where women are opting to become surrogate mothers. We will examine the legal provisions to provide social and emotional security to women in such cases," said Priya Hingorani, a legal expert.

While expressing concern over various shortcomings in guidelines of surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies, the National Commission for Women (NCW) raised the issues about two months ago with the Ministry.

The Commission has submitted recommendations on guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to the ministry.

"There are many people from various countries traveling to India simply because they can get cheap wombs on rent," said NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas.

"How far this renting out is justified? There are many women who are into it because of financial compulsions. So the draft has to look into all the aspects. The draft should be in public domain for open discussions."

According to NCW, there are 3,000 clinics across the country charging Rs 25,000 to 2 lakh for surrogacy.

"People who hire a surrogate mother only pay for health and food when she becomes pregnant," said Ranjana Kumari, Director of Centre for Social Research.

"There are cases where women go through abortions in the process. Without the inclusion of these aspects, the guidelines are incomplete."

Many surrogate mothers refuse to hand over the baby to their original parents because they get emotionally attached.

Women's organisations have also demanded that there should be some mechanism to provide emotional security to the mother involved in the process.

"Probably there could be legal provisions to allow a surrogate mother to visit the child once in a while," added Kumar.

"We are not opposing medical technologies, provided the technology is transparent and negative effects are also considered," said Malini Bhattacharya, former NCW member who headed the team which prepared a draft on the issue.

Apart from legal representatives of the Health Ministry, members of the ICMR will also participate in the consultation programme.


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