Surrogacy bill disappoints stakeholders

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, that was cleared by the Cabinet on Wednesday evoked strong reactions from stakeholders in the city.
Surrogacy bill disappoints stakeholders
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Chennai

Many of them felt that there was little to cheer about, as the bill has failed to take the interests of surrogate mothers into consideration and deprives many of the facility that offers them hope. 
Dr C Geetha Haripriya, Medical Director, Prashanth Fertility Research Centre, said that the draft bill that denied surrogacy for overseas Indians, apart from foreigners, deprives many surrogate mothers of the income that can change their lives. “I have seen over 400 cases in the last 15 years and the payment offered by foreign couples effected a major change in the financial position of surrogate mothers. I have seen surrogate mothers affording education and a good standard of living for their children. The move by the draft bill takes away the opportunity to empower their lives,” she says. 
Dr Geetha adds that laying down rules and regulations would have been more ideal. “There has been no exploitation; women in fact volunteer to be surrogate mothers. We have been following guidelines laid down in other countries and it has been smooth so far; all the parties involved were happy. We fail to understand what has prompted the new draft. It is disappointing and upsetting,” she says. 
AJ Hariharan, chairperson, G-SMART, a city-based NGO, that strives for the rights of surrogate mothers, points out it was wrong to distinguish between married and unmarried couples, in this case. “If a couple has decided for a child, stopping them on the basis of marriage is unfair. Similarly, barring foreign couples from opting for surrogate mothers in India is a discrimination,” he says.

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