After much scrutiny,bill on surrogacy to be presented | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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After much scrutiny,bill on surrogacy to be presented

Surrogacy could soon have a law governing the practice, taking it out of the grey zone that it has existed in till date. The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill 2014, the first-ever proposed legislation on what is largely an unregulated practice, will be tabled in the parliament session. Among other regulations, the bill proposes to fix an upper age limit for couples commissioning a surrogacy.

mumbai Updated: Nov 24, 2014 00:35 IST
Shobhan Singh

Surrogacy could soon have a law governing the practice, taking it out of the grey zone that it has existed in till date. The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill 2014, the first-ever proposed legislation on what is largely an unregulated practice, will be tabled in the parliament session. Among other regulations, the bill proposes to fix an upper age limit for couples commissioning a surrogacy.

Experts, however, differ over the age limit in the proposed regulation. The bill has been prepared by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) with feedback from stakeholders concerned, like doctors.

“The original draft of the proposed bill does not have a cap on the upper age limit for the commissioning couple as it serves no purpose. There is no age limit for adoption and likewise the choice for surrogacy should be that of the couple,” said Dr Pushpa M Bhargava, the father of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in India and closely involved in the drafting of the bill.

There are two types of surrogacy – gestational and traditional. In gestational surrogacy, the pregnancy results from the transfer of an embryo created by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) so the child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is impregnated naturally or artificially, but the child is genetically related to the surrogate.

“There are guidelines that determine the age limit for gestational surrogacy but in traditional, many aspects are in the grey zone. It is important that age be determined because for an older couple the child’s future looms under uncertainty,” said Dr Bipin Pandit, gynaecologist and IVF expert.

Other controversies over the proposed bill include whether foreign nationals should be allowed to commission surrogacy in India, whether same sex couples and single parents be allowed. “This is the only bill in recent times that has had so much public scrutiny and debate from all stakeholders,” Dr Bhargava said.

“In the bill we have tried to clearly define all rules and guidelines so that there is no scope for confusion,” said Dr RS Sharma, deputy director, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that was entrusted with the responsibility of drafting the ART bill.