Centre drafting surrogacy legislation

by Abhinav Sharma ,  Times of India | 2008-08-09

JAIPUR: Even as the Japanese surrogate baby Manji's fate continues to hang in balance, the Union ministry of health and family planning is sitting pretty over the guidelines on surrogacy in India prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 2005.

Ever since Manji was shifted to a Jaipur hospital after she was born to her surrogate mother in Anand near Ahmedabad, the issue of surrogacy has become the talk of the town.

Surprisingly, while a hot debate is on whether any law on the issue exists in the country or not, detailed and clear guidelines are very much available in the country on surrogacy and the legal rights of a child so born.

The National Guidelines for Accreditation, Supervision & Regulation of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) Clinics in India, 2005, was issued by ICMR, the apex body for formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, which is chaired by the Union minister for health and family welfare.

The Chapter III of this guideline has recognised surrogacy as a valid mode of bypassing pain of infertility for a couple. Accordingly, it has been defined as an arrangement in which a woman agrees to carry a pregnancy that is genetically unrelated to her and her husband, with the intention to carry it to term and hand over the child to the genetic parents for whom she is acting as a surrogate.

According to the guidelines, the biological parents who provided sperm and ovum have to undergo diagnosis for the cause of infertility before they be allowed to have a surrogate baby. Further, they should sign an undertaking to this effect that their infertility is incurable and, therefore, they are opting surrogation.

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