New Delhi: Priety Zinta, the former Tinsel Town actress, and her husband Gene Goodenough are now the proud parents of two newborn babies. Their bundle of joy arrived via surrogacy. The couple became parents of beautiful twins, thanks to the magic of medical science.
Not just Priety, a lot of Bollywood celebrities have taken to surrogacy to embrace parenthood. Some other powerful names include Shah Rukh, Aamir Khan, Ekta Kapoor, and others.
As this is a great blessing in the life of a childless couple, here is an introduction to surrogacy, its cost and how the laws are set in India.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an extended arrangement for achieving parenthood through a surrogate mother. The surrogate woman agrees to bear a child for a couple either by will or for monetary gain. After the birth of the child, the couple becomes the real parents.
Usually, couples or single parents choose the route of surrogacy when
– it is medically impossible for the mother to conceive
– pregnancy is medically impossible either because of the medical risks involved
– a single person wants to have a child.
Types of Surrogacy – Traditional and Gestational
There are two types of surrogacy – namely traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.
Traditional and direct surrogacy is a method in which pregnancy is achieved by artificial or natural insemination and continues until childbirth.
Traditional surrogacy is not allowed in India and remains prohibited by law.
In surrogacy (also called surrogacy), the procedure involves the creation of an IVF embryo (in vitro fertilization) and then its implantation in the uterus of the surrogate mother.
The mother’s eggs and the father’s sperm are artificially fertilized, then the embryo is placed in a surrogate mother, who carries the baby in her womb until birth.
Which couple is eligible for surrogacy?
The couple wishing to become parents through gestational surrogacy must have a “certificate of essentiality” and a “certificate of eligibility” issued by the competent authority.
However, not all expectant parents meet this eligibility.
Only those who are able to continue the path of surrogacy, who meet the conditions below
– The couple must be Indian citizens and must have been married for 5 years
– The age of the husband must be between 26 and 55 years old and that of the wife between 23 and 50 years old
– They must not have any children of their own (biological / adoption / surrogate)
The surrogate mother should also meet the criteria below:
– She should be a close relative of the future couple
– She must be 25-35 years old and must have a child of her own
– Possess a certificate of medical & psychological aptitude for surrogacy
Surrogacy is a hotly debated issue across the world and therefore regulations vary from country to country. Many countries consider this to be an outright offense and therefore have put a general ban on this practice. Some countries have allowed altruistic surrogacy, but not commercial surrogacy.
In India, surrogacy is allowed. According to the Surrogacy Bill 2019, only couples can benefit from surrogacy who are unable to conceive a baby naturally or the mother’s physical complications prevent her from having a baby.
Detailed clauses are mentioned in the law to prevent the exploitation of any part. The couple must be Indian and must have been married for 5 years while the surrogate must be between 25 and 35 years old and she cannot have more than one surrogate in her lifetime. For the surrogate child, he or she is treated on an equal footing as the biological child of the couple and will be entitled to all the rights and privileges available for a natural child.
Rules and penalties
The Surrogacy Act in India only allows altruistic surrogacy and prohibits commercial surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy does not involve any monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than medical costs and insurance coverage during pregnancy.
There are also provisions to impose penalties on the intended parents as well as the surrogate mother if someone violates the stipulated regulations.
The offenses include – Exploitation of the surrogate mother, abandonment or denial of a surrogate child, importation of embryos for surrogacy. The penalty for such offenses includes imprisonment for 10 years or a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.