Surrogate motherhood raises difficult ethical, philosophical and social questions. When a monetary transaction takes place, the matter becomes even more complicated: especially in India, where no legal provisions safeguard the interests of the surrogate mother, the child or the commissioning parents-to-be. Hence, with support from National Commission for Women (NCW), CSR’s research department is currently conducting an exploratory study on surrogacy in three high prevalence areas: Anand, Surat and Jamnagar of Gujarat state.
In common understanding, a surrogate – or “substitute” – mother is hired to bear a child that she turns over at birth to her employer. Due to relatively inexpensive medical care and rapid advancements in reproductive technology, India has become a popular destination for foreign couples in search of women willing to bear children in exchange for financial compensation.
The Government of India has made initial steps to address and regulate surrogacy arrangements. Most notably, the Indian Council of Medical Research under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare enacted the National Guidelines for Accreditation, Supervision and Regulation of Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinics in India in 2005. However, legal provisions dealing directly with the rights and interests of the surrogate mother, child and commissioning parents remain nonexistent. Therefore, this study contains the following key objectives:
- To examine the existing social and health protection rights ensured to surrogate mothers
- To analyse the rights of the child in surrogacy arrangements thusfar
- To study the rights and issues pertaining to commissioning parents
- To suggest policy recommendations for the protection of rights through legal provisions of surrogate mother, child and the commissioning parents
Data will be collected from both primary and secondary sources. Having prepated and vetted field questionnaires, the project team is currently in the process of collecting data in the concerned project areas in Gujarat. Upon completion of the project, findings and recommendations will be published and shared in a national-level seminar with governmental and non-governmental agencies, as well as with other concerned individuals and organizations.