India is one of the celebrated hubs for surrogacy in world, known globally for its ‘liberal laws’, which makes surrogacy easier for couples who are unable to have kids of their own.
The multi-billionaire surrogacy industry manifested itself due to globally falling birth rates, and have thrived itself with time. However, the Supreme Court has imposed a ban on the use of surrogacy by foreign nationals, via the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill. The government seeks to narrow down the surrogacy services to Indian couples or foreigners married to Indian citizens.
This has caused a debacle among the women who act as surrogate mothers.
A group of surrogate mothers has moved the Supreme Court seeking a withdrawal of the November 4 circular banning foreign commissioning parents.
Surrogacy has been an unregulated grey area, since its inception in 2002. Our country offers the best in terms of medical advancements, and its reliability is not to be undermined as well. The presence of surrogate mothers in India, which isn’t the case with other countries, has also acted as a boon for the industry.
With time, it had grown into an industry worth $2.3 billion and according to official estimates, 5,000 surrogate babies are being born every year. The surrogate mother gets Rs. 4 to 8 lakh depending on the number of babies she is carrying. But of course, not everything with the industry is hunky dory.
There have been certain debates that suggests surrogacy of being exploitative in nature, which dwells itself on the vulnerability of poor Indian women.
The woman has no right over the baby, and such alienation and commercialization of a women’s body is often unethical and repulsive in nature.
Also, there are many cases of exploited or ill-used surrogates, cheated parents, unqualified doctors and unscrupulous agents, largely because India has been unable to pass a regulatory law.
Nevertheless, if the thoughts of some surrogate mothers are to be believed, they think of it as an easy job, that provides them with money that could substantiate their livelihood.
Almost all surrogate mothers and commissioning parents, as reported by The Hindu, agree that foreign surrogacy should not be stopped. The association of medical practitioners providing fertility treatments are concerned that the government, instead of effecting better regulation, has imposed a blanket ban on a section of customers.
It again seems that the opinion of the women, who are going to be majorly impacted by the bill, is ignored. If they are desperate for money, is it the government who will be feeding their families?
How far is the point when women can finally gain control over their own bodies, and end up taking decisions that are not forced?
Whether for surrogacy, or against, it is the choice of a woman to get indulged into the discussed sector. It is their choice to share their gift of reproduction, or to not share it.
It is their choice to make a choice.