The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved major changes to the Surrogacy Bill following recommendations of the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. As per the recent changes, a willing woman can be a surrogate mother and a widow or divorced woman will also have a right to surrogacy, apart from infertile Indian couples.
As per reports, the cabinet approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020 to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, to prohibit commercial surrogacy and to allow altruistic surrogacy. The Bill is likely to be taken up for the passage in the second half of the Budget Session of Parliament.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday detailed the changes in the Surrogacy Bill.
According to her, the insurance cover of a surrogate mother would be increased from 16 months to 36 months. Speaking about the rights to surrogacy, she said, "The right will be of Indian married couples, Indian origin married couple in which both are of Indian origin and in the single women category, the right will be of widow and divorcee."
According to the Minister, the term of national boards has been extended from one to three years. Lauding the government, Irani said, "Systemically, under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, be it the medical termination of pregnancy, be it ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Bill or the Surrogacy Bill that we speak of today, the fact that our Prime Minister has led from the front with a liberal view on issues of reproductive rights of women is something that I am extremely proud of as an Indian woman."
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 was introduced by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan in the Lok Sabha. The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy allowing only altruistic surrogacy (surrogacy which involves no monetary compensation), as explained PRS. The Bill also defines surrogacy in terms of the intending couple and the woman gives birth - with the intention to hand over the child after birth.
(With ANI Inputs)