With India’s Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2016 getting the cabinet nod , India has joined most other countries in the world that have made renting wombs illegal and commercial surrogacy punishable under law.
Here’s where the world stands on surrogacy
France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Bulgaria prohibit all forms of surrogacy, including altruistic surrogacy where a woman can carry a baby for someone without money, favour or coercion.
The UK, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and Belgium have banned commercial surrogacy but allow altruistic surrogacy where the commissioning parents only pay for the surrogate mother’s medical expenses and insurance.
India, Mexico, Thailand and Nepal, which had emerged as the biggest hubs for commercial surrogacy over the past decade, have all banned commercial surrogacy over the past one year.
In the UK and Thailand, the altruistic surrogate has to be a blood relative to either couple.
In India, a “close relative”, which is yet to be clearly defined, can be a surrogate mother to the couple.
Russia, Ukraine and Georgia allow commercial surrogacy, as do six US states, including California, where both parents are named on the birth certificate.
Some Australian states have criminalised citizens going to another country for commercial surrogacy.
BABY’S LEGAL STATUS
Since there is no internationally-binding law for surrogacy, a surrogate baby is often left stateless and is at the mercy of the national laws of the new parents’ home country.
In the UK and Thailand, the surrogate mother is the legal parent, which makes her legally responsible if the baby is abandoned.
In India, the commissioning mother is the legal parent of a surrogate child.
Under India’s Surrogacy Regulation bill 2016, a surrogate child has the same rights as a biological child.