Saturday, 18 July 2015

Parenthood, Surrogacy and Legal Aspects of Surrogacy in India

Humans are social beings. Money and Power doesn’t makes us feel complete most of the time, social interaction is equally necessary and infact it is more important than the former two because without people, money and power worth nothing. Having some social life, being promised to someone, spending time with family members, relatives, hanging out with friends not only improves the quality of life of the individual but also helps the person to ease stress, share common interests, makes him emotionally satisfied. Being a Parent is one of a important aspect of a person’s socio personal life as being a good or a bad parent helps in defining a person;s character.

According to a nation-wide survey conducted by Zero-to-Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, more than 90% of parents say that when they had their first child, they not only felt "in love" with their baby, but were personally happier than ever before in their lives. Parenthood not just make an adult more responsible person but also Grownups feel motivated through their self interest to be good parents, parenting increase a sense of fulfillment in adults, it boosts their sense of well being, makes them more ethical. Parents encounter a number of new challenges which tests and shows there distinct capabilities. In a nutshell, Parenthood is one of the most wonderful phase of one’s life, its outstandingly humbling, challenging and rewarding commitment of life.

However, some couples are not able to have child due to reasons such as pregnancy not be possible or there is great amount of risk to the health of the mother giving birth. Such couples seek other options like surrogacy in which couple seek help from friend or a close person but in most of the cases it is really hard to find such a person who is willing to help in such matter, but as a matter of fact there is a great hope for such couples in India as India is from one of the few countries in which Commercial Surrogacy  is legal (as per the verdict of Supreme Court on 2008 Manji's case). A proper Regulatory body and Act for controlling and smooth functioning of surrogacy related activities have still not been created by the Government but there is a list of national guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research in 2005. If a thought coming in your mind that ”Why there is need of surrogacy laws? It is just about two people one who needs help and other who wants to help”. Yes, it is about persons, one needs helps and one wanna help, but  in order to dispel possibility of any type of misunderstanding or conflict that could lead to any kind of harm (financially or otherwise) to the gestational mother or the intended parents, ICMR has issued the guidelines. By going through the guidelines, you will get the overview of how they help in proper conduct of surrogacy related operations. The guidelines are as follows:
  1. Surrogacy arrangement will continue to be governed by a contract amongst parties, which will contain all the terms requiring consent of surrogate mother to bear the child, agreement of her husband and other family members for the same, medical procedures of artificial insemination, reimbursement of all reasonable expenses for carrying child to full term, willingness to hand over the child born to the commissioning parent(s), etc. But such an arrangement should not be for commercial purposes.
  1. A surrogacy arrangement should provide for financial support for the surrogate child in the event of death of the commissioning couple or individual before delivery of the child, or divorce between the intended parents and subsequent willingness of none to take delivery of the child.
  1. A surrogacy contract should necessarily take care of life insurance cover for surrogate mother.
  1. One of the intended parents should be a donor as well, because the bond of love and affection with a child primarily emanates from biological relationship. Also, the chances of various kinds of child-abuse, which have been noticed in cases of adoptions, will be reduced. In case the intended parent is single, he or she should be a donor to be able to have a surrogate child. Otherwise, adoption is the way to have a child, which is resorted to if biological (natural) parents and adoptive parents are different.
  1. Legislation itself should recognise a surrogate child to be the legitimate child of the commissioning parent(s) without there being any need for adoption or even declaration of guardian.
  1. The birth certificate of the surrogate child should contain the name(s) of the commissioning parent(s) only.
  1. Right to privacy of donor as well as surrogate mother should be protected.
  1. Sex-selective surrogacy should be prohibited.
  1. Cases of abortions should be governed by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 only