On December 19, 2018, the House of Deputies in India, the Lok Sabha, adopted a bill prohibiting surrogacy.
In order to protect women from being exploited, the draft law on “commercial” surrogacy has a provision for a jail term of up to 10 years.
Since 2002, when India authorized surrogacy, repeated national scandals reported in the world press have led authorities to take protective measures against surrogate factories that exploit the poor, and sponsors who abandon babies who do not meet their criteria. The bill, introduced by the Indian Health Minister JP Nadda, was passed in August 2016 by Narendra Modi’s nationalist government and then “it was referred to the parliamentary standing committee on Health and Family Welfare in January 2017″.
India thus joins other countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Nepal that have significantly curtailed the practice of surrogacy.
Surrogacy will be supervised and only available to Indian couples with medically proven infertility, who have been married for at least 5 years. This constitutes a first blow. In New Delhi, the Director of the Center for Social Research Ranjana Kumari explains that until now, due to the easy access to surrogacy, adoption had not attracted many people. She declares: “this may possibly boost the dismal adoption figures in India.”
Caroline Roux, Alliance VITA’s Assistant General Delegate and member of the collective group initiative “No Maternity Traffic” speaks out: “I’m concerned about the victims of surrogacy, whether they are women or children. It is a relief to see the Indian authorities take measures to drastically restrict surrogacy and its inhumane financial profits. India’s ban on “commercial” surrogacy is a very important step and it helps promote the global awareness that surrogacy is inconsistent with Human Rights. Nonetheless India has not yet gone the entire way to forbid all forms of surrogacy on an international level. We look forward to seeing the same determination from the United States. With its ultra-liberalism, the US is the major provider of surrogates for commercial agencies that carry out the procreation business with impunity.”