In a development that would help infertile couples have a baby, the Indian government on Wednesday (August 24) cleared the draft surrogacy Bill 2016.
The Bill seeks to prohibit ‘commercial’ surrogacy and denies foreigners, NRIs, single parents, live-in partners and same-sex couples from becoming parents through a surrogate mother.
It is imperative that you should know what surrogacy actually is, how does it work and what are the risks associated with it.
What is surrogacy?
It is a form of assisted reproductive treatment (ART) in which a woman carries a child in her uterus and gives birth on behalf of a couple who wants a baby but is unable to.
How does surrogacy work?
Two main types of surrogacy are there. They are:
Gestational surrogacy – also known as host or full surrogacy, here the eggs and sperm of the intended couple are used to form the embryo, which is is then transferred to the womb of the surrogate mother, so that the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate. In some cases, either a donar egg/sperm may be used with the genetic father’s sperm/mother’s egg to form an embryo that is transferred to the surrogate mother.
Traditional surrogacy – also known as partial surrogacy, here the surrogate mother is impregnated naturally or artificially, using the sperm of the intended father. With this method, the resulting child is genetically related to intended father and to the surrogate.
How to choose a surrogate mother?
There aren’t any regulations about who can be a surrogate mother, however you should choose a birth mother/surrogate who:
Is between the ages of 21-41 years of age
Has already given birth to at least one child of her own
Do not use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or abuse alcohol
Signs a contract about her role and responsibilities in the pregnancy – prenatal care and agreeing to give you the baby after birth
Who might opt for surrogacy?
Couples might opt for surrogacy if they have certain medical conditions such as:
Absence or malformation of the womb
Recurrent pregnancy loss
Repeated in vitro fertilisation (IVF) implantation failures
Risks of surrogacy-
Since surrogacy involves complicated legal issues, it is always better that you seek legal advice before making any decisions, or hire a lawyer who specialises in reproductive law in your country.