NEW RULE ON SURROGACY Syllabus GS Paper 2 – Social Issues)

News-CRUX-10     24th February 2024        

Context: The Centre recently amended the surrogacy Rules to permit couples to utilize donor eggs or donor sperm for surrogacy, overturning a previous amendment made in March 2023 that prohibited the use of donor gametes.

Implications of the Surrogacy Amendment

  • Expanded Eligibility Criteria: The amendment broadens eligibility for surrogacy to include cases where either the husband or wife suffers from medical conditions requiring donor gametes.
  • Single Women Undergoing Surrogacy: Single women, whether widowed or divorced, opting for surrogacy must utilize their own eggs and donor sperms according to the notification.
  • Shift from Previous Regulations: Prior to March 2023, surrogacy regulations mandated the use of both eggs and sperm from the intending couple.
  • Accessibility to Older Women: The amendment enables older women and those with medical conditions affecting egg production to access surrogacy, providing a positive impact on fertility options.
  • Age and Egg Quality: Age significantly impacts egg quality, with a notable decline post the age of 35, prompting medical professionals to recommend donor eggs after 45 years of age.
  • Limited Need for Donor Eggs and Surrogacy: While the amendment widens access, the necessity for donor eggs and surrogacy remains relatively rare according to experts like Dr. Nutan Agarwal from Artemis Hospital.

Contentions with Surrogacy for Single Women

  • Limited Access: The Act restricts access to surrogacy for single women, permitting it only for widowed or divorced individuals.
  • Egg Requirement: Regulations mandate that single women, even those meeting the criteria, must use their own eggs for the surrogacy process.
  • Recent Notification: The recent notification reinforced the requirement for single women to utilize their own eggs, further constraining their options within surrogacy.

Surrogacy Regulation In India

  • Definition: It is an arrangement in which a woman (the surrogate) agrees to carry and give birth to a child on behalf of another person or couple (the intended parent/s).
  • Two types:

oAltruistic surrogacy: It involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.

oCommercial surrogacy: It includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.

  • Constitutional provisions: The right of reproductive autonomy is a facet of the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Legal provisions: Surrogacy is regulated by Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) , 2021 and Surrogacy (Regulation) , 2021.