Bring forth ART Bill before Surrogacy Bill, recommends Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health
India is called the ‘world capital of surrogacy’, with an estimated $ 2 billion generated annually.health Updated: Aug 10, 2017 20:10 IST
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on health raised objections in Rajya Sabha on bringing forth Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, before the Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART) Bill, 2008 that is lying in cold storage.
The committee presented a detailed report on the Surrogacy Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that was passed in its monsoon session last year, and ‘strongly recommended’ the ART Bill should be brought forth first.
Union health minister JP Nadda had introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha in November last year.
The committee held 10 sittings for examining the Bill and at the end has sought to know ‘the reasons behind such prompt decision to bring a separate legislation for surrogacy without the ART Bill.”
The ART Bill was drafted in 2008, and underwent frequent reviews and re-drafting first in 2010 and later in 2014.
The Bill aimed at proper regulation and supervision of ART clinics and banks and prevention of misuse of this technology including surrogacy.
“It is a fact that surrogacy procedures cannot be conducted without assisted reproduction techniques and, therefore, mere enactment of the Surrogacy Bill would not serve the purpose of controlling commercialisation of the surrogacy facilities…,” the committee observed in its report.
“The committee fails to comprehend the reasons behind bringing a fresh Bill specifically on surrogacy, when a detailed, comprehensive and all encompassing Bill on ART services had already been drafted by the department.”
With no law governing surrogacy, India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries that generate an estimated $ 2billion annually in the country.
The number of surrogacy births in the country in the last three years is approximately 2000, according to the report.
There have been incidents concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers and abandonment of children born out of surrogacy that forced the government to regularise the field.