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Surrogacy for Single Mothers

Surrogacy for Single Mothers and Unmarried Women in India: What You Need to Know

| 15 Nov 2023 | 67329 Views |

Introduction

Surrogacy is a topic that has garnered much attention in India, particularly with the recent Surrogacy (Regulation) Act of 2021. This act has ushered in a new era of regulations surrounding surrogacy, but it has also left some groups excluded from its benefits. Single mothers and unmarried women, in particular, find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to surrogacy in India. In this article, we will delve into the legal status of surrogacy in India, why single mothers and unmarried women are excluded, and the recent challenges and developments in this field. Let’s explore this complex and evolving landscape.

Legal Status of Surrogacy in India

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, has brought significant changes to the world of surrogacy in India. This act, aimed at regulating surrogacy, lays down specific guidelines for eligibility. As it stands, the act allows only married couples and widows and divorced women between the ages of 35 and 45 to avail the benefits of surrogacy. Unfortunately, single and unmarried women are not afforded this privilege.

Why Single Mothers and Unmarried Women Cannot Avail Surrogacy in India

The exclusion of single mothers and unmarried women from surrogacy under the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 may seem puzzling, but there are several potential reasons behind it:

1. Child’s Well-being: The government may have concerns about the stability and support a child would receive in a single-parent household. This exclusion could be seen as a measure to safeguard the child’s interests.

2. Preventing Commercialization: There is a fear that allowing single mothers and unmarried women to undergo surrogacy might lead to its commercialization. This could potentially exploit surrogate mothers and turn surrogacy into a lucrative industry for the wealthy.

3. Preserving Traditional Values: The Indian government may perceive surrogacy for single mothers and unmarried women as conflicting with traditional family values, which emphasize a nuclear family structure.

Challenge to the Exclusion of Single Mothers and Unmarried Women from Surrogacy

In November 2023, a groundbreaking event occurred when a 44-year-old unmarried woman petitioned the Delhi High Court, challenging the exclusion of single and unmarried women from the surrogacy procedure as dictated by the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021. The petitioner argued that this exclusion is discriminatory and infringes upon her fundamental rights of equality and the right to life.

The Delhi High Court has taken note of this case and has requested the Central Government to provide its response to the petition. This matter is currently under consideration by the court, promising potential changes on the horizon.

New Art Law and Surrogacy for Single Mothers and Unmarried Women

In an encouraging development, the Indian Parliament is actively considering a new Art Law that is anticipated to replace the current Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021. This new legislation is expected to adopt a more progressive and inclusive stance.

The draft Art Law proposes to allow single mothers and unmarried women to participate in the surrogacy process, effectively erasing the existing exclusion. Additionally, the new law suggests raising the upper age limit for surrogacy to 50 years.

Should the new Art Law be enacted, it would mark a significant victory for single mothers and unmarried women who aspire to build their families through surrogacy.

Conclusion

In its current state, the legal landscape surrounding surrogacy in India does not favor single mothers and unmarried women. However, there is hope on the horizon with the prospective introduction of the new Art Law, which promises to be more inclusive and accommodating, potentially allowing single mothers and unmarried women to access surrogacy services.

Additional Information

In addition to the legal aspects, there are practical and ethical considerations to bear in mind when contemplating surrogacy for single mothers and unmarried women in India.

Practical Considerations

The cost of surrogacy in India can vary depending on factors such as the location of the surrogacy clinic, the experience of the surrogacy team, and the complexity of the case. Generally, surrogacy in India is relatively affordable compared to other developed countries. However, potential parents should conduct thorough research to ensure a reputable clinic with experienced staff.

Ethical Considerations

Ethical concerns are paramount when considering surrogacy, especially in cases involving single mothers and unmarried women. The well-being of the child should be the top priority, ensuring they are raised in a stable and supportive environment. Additionally, maintaining a transparent and respectful relationship with the surrogate mother is essential, respecting her autonomy and bodily integrity.

In conclusion, the journey of surrogacy for single mothers and unmarried women in India is evolving. While the current legal landscape may present challenges, potential changes in legislation offer hope for a more inclusive future.

FAQs

No, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, excludes single mothers and unmarried women from availing surrogacy services.

Some possible reasons include concerns for the child's well-being, prevention of surrogacy commercialization, and the preservation of traditional family values.

Yes, a 44-year-old unmarried woman has filed a petition challenging this exclusion in the Delhi High Court.

The new Art Law is a proposed legislation that aims to replace the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021. It is expected to be more inclusive, allowing single mothers and unmarried women to undergo surrogacy.

The draft Art Law suggests raising the upper age limit for surrogacy to 50 years.

The timeline for the enactment of the new Art Law is currently uncertain and depends on legislative processes.

Surrogacy costs in India can vary based on several factors but are generally more affordable compared to other developed countries.

It's essential to research surrogacy clinics, their locations, the experience of the surrogacy team, and the complexity of the case before proceeding.

Ensuring the child's well-being and establishing a respectful and open relationship with the surrogate mother are crucial ethical considerations.

They should carefully consider the legal, practical, and ethical aspects of surrogacy before making a decision.

About The Author
Dr. Richika Sahay

MBBS (Gold Medalist), DNB (Obst & Gyne), MNAMS, MRCOG (London-UK), Fellow IVF, Fellow MAS, Infertility (IVF) Specialist & Gynae Laparoscopic surgeon,[Ex AIIMS & Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi]. Read more

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