The Indian Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the draft Surrogacy Bill, 2016 to safeguard the rights of surrogate mothers by seeking to “prohibit commercial surrogacy”. The bill, however, allows “ethical surrogacy” to infertile couples under certain conditions.
Altruistic surrogacy will not be allowed to single parents, live-in partners and homosexual couples.
The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj called the Bill a “milestone towards women empowerment”.
Swaraj added that altruistic surrogacy will be allowed to “legally” married couples if their marriage is at least five years old. The couple will also be required to produce a medical certificate to prove that there is “complexity” in one of the couples.
"Surrogacy will only be allowed for Indian citizens and not to the non-India residents (NRIs) or Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders,” she said.
A group of ministers (GoM) comprising Indian health minister JP Nadda, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, had recently cleared the Bill and referred it to the Union Cabinet which gave a final nod to it today.
The government has prohibited foreigners from commissioning surrogacy to prevent women in rural and tribal areas from being exploited, sources said.