Andhra Pradesh-Telangana Women Commission seeks legislation to regulate surrogacy

Hyderabad: Holding that surrogacy has become a commercial activity in India, the Chairperson of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Women's Commission today demanded enactment of a legislation to regulate it.

"Surrogacy has become a commercial activity in India. Please don't treat women's womb as a commodity. There must be an Act which can regulate the activities of infertility clinics and the surrogacy industry which is concentrating only on earning money," Tripurana Venkataratnam told reporters here.

"Let there be an Act to regulate this activity of surrogacy which is exploiting poor women. Those interested in having babies through surrogacy let them have it through their family members and relatives," she said.

"We have to stop this business activity and we are also insisting that if any childless couple are interested in having babies through surrogacy let their family members come forward who can instead be taken as surrogate mothers rather than women outside," Tripurana said.

National Commission for Women and different departments of the government had on October 15 conducted a consultation in Delhi on surrogacy issues.

A draft bill "The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2014 is under consideration in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for enactment of a legislation, she said.

"On the issue of surrogacy, our Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states Commission for Women is also going to conduct one consultation inviting women representatives and NGOs and we will send our recommendations to the Centre on behalf of these states," Tripurana said, adding the consultation would be held in first week of November.

Many foreign nationals are coming to India to get surrogacy babies for lesser price. Surrogate mothers are poor and illiterate women, who are Dalits and tribal women. In most tribal belts, the agents are going there and recruiting these women to give a baby as a surrogate mother. So, all these factors finally exploit women which is also interlinked to the health of women, Tripurana added.

She further said that surrogacy has been prohibited in several countries including Australia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey while some other countries like Brazil have partially prohibited it. "Countries such as India, Belgium, Finland and Greece have no regulations at all".

Referring to a UN study in July 2012 on the economic scale of surrogacy in India, Tripurana said, "the study estimated the business at more than USD 400 million a year, with over 3,000 fertility clinics across India."

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