The Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016 is likely to regulate the practice of surrogacy in India prioritising the rights of surrogates and the child.
The bill has following provisions empowering the surrogate mother:
- By providing for a national regulator to oversee clinics offering surrogate services: will curb any kind of overcharging, misappropriation and miscarriage of best practices.
- By providing for legal aid to the surrogate mother: will empower women with legal rights in matters related to the surrogacy.
However the Bill has some provisions negating the advances made towards women empowerment:
- Commercial surrogacy being banned completely will lead to restricting the ability of poor and unskilled women to pull themselves out of poverty and miseries ending their financial independence. They will again be forced to live at the mercy of moneylenders and get into the vicious cycle of debt.
- Threat in the form of Absence of livelihood will affect their autonomy in decision making.
- State putting restriction to only one time altruistic surrogacy shows a challenge in the form of freedom of choice passing from individual to state
- A regressive observation in the form of considering single women unfit to look after a child by forbidding them from having a surrogate child.
Looking closely at the bill, a clear glimpse of compromise with respect to advances in women empowerment can be observed. The bill can be made more significant and effective by regulating the whole surrogacy industry, greater interaction with the women community involved, acknowledging their ground level challenges and providing alternatives to those who were coerced to work into this business.