A lot of discussions are going on around the surrogacy trend in India. While some argue that it has become some sort of style statement, a few others feel that it is impacting adoption rates negatively. On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet cleared a Bill which aims to safeguard the rights of surrogate mothers and legalise their parentage. The Bill also proposed a complete ban on commercial surrogacy, allowing only legally-wedded couples to opt for the procedure to check unethical practices. Let’s look at what celebs, single parents and doctors have to say.
Condemning the misuse of altruistic surrogacy, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj alleged that what started for convenience has become a luxury. Lashing out at celebrities for choosing surrogacy and making it ‘trendy’, she says, “Even big celebrities who have not one but two children — a son and a daughter — went ahead with surrogacy.” However, dismissing her statements, PSN Prasad, chairman of Dr Rama’s Institute for Fertility, says, “The Khans or other celebrities don’t constitute even one percent of the people opting for surrogacy. 99.99 per cent of couples who seek it are those who can’t have their own genetic baby by any other means.”
Sushma alleged that India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples and unethical practices. But Prasad says otherwise. “Surrogacy has simply attracted too much attention due to its sensational nature. Too many difficulties of logistics are involved for the intending parents, surrogates and hospitals. It is practised only as a last hope and resort. And there are no reported cases of exploitation of any kind with the government,” he reasons.
Joy of (single) parenting:
Many politicians, high officials and rich businessmen go abroad for organ transplants which are prohibited in India. Likewise, the rich and the mighty will be unaffected by the law even if surrogacy is banned, says PSN Prasad. “It is only the poor and middle classes that are affected. The rich can find surrogate babies abroad if they want. What about the poor?” According to the ministry, childless couples who are medically unfit to have a baby can get help from a close relative. And Prasad asks, “Is there any guarantee that they won’t forge documents to prove their relationship?”
Tusshar inspired by Jha:
Tusshar Kapoor, who became a proud dad with the help of IVF and surrogacy recently, says his paternal instinct grew strong due to the influence of director Prakash Jha. He says, “Last year, I went to Tirupati Temple and happened to meet Jha on the flight. He told me about IVF procedure and how one could be a single parent using it. He also introduced me to a family who had a baby through surrogacy. I felt inspired and decided to go for the same.”
Surrogacy Made Gay Family Complete:
A male citizen of an EU country on condition of anonymity, considers himself lucky and says, “I came to India eight years ago after I and my gay partner of five years decided to have a baby. My country did not and still does not permit surrogacy and I found a surrogate in India who conceived of my sperm and a donor egg from an anonymous Indian. I engaged lawyers in my country to have my child recognised through our courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). I obtained permission from the court to take my child on a travel document issued by my embassy. After a few years of legal proceedings, my child has been recognised as my own.”