The Union Cabinet has cleared the Surrogacy Bill, 2016 in a bid to prevent exploitation of poor women by unscrupulous elements. 

After the bill was approved, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the media giving details of the bill and why the government decided to take such a step:

  • “The bill will prohibit commercial surrogacy & allow ethical surrogacy to needy infertile couples.”
  • “It comes at a time when India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples & incidents reported on unethical practices.”
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  • “Altruistic surrogacy will only be allowed for Indian citizens, not NRIs or OCI card holders.”
  • “Single parents, homosexual couples, live-in relationships couples will not be allowed altruistic surrogacy. You can say it (allowing surrogacy for homosexual couples) is forward-looking and we can say this doesn’t go with our ethos.”
  • “If you have a biological child, or an adopted child then altruistic surrogacy won’t be allowed.”
  • “This bill will ensure there is no different treatment for the two kids while they’re being raised, or later to avoid fights over property.”
  • “Jo cheez zaroorat ke naam pe shuru ki gayi thi woh ab shauk ban gayi hai” (what started out as a necessity has now become a hobby)
  • “Big celebrities who not only have one but two children, a son and a daughter, even then they went ahead with surrogacy.” 
  • “National Surrogacy Board will be set up at central and state level.”

According to the Health Ministry proposal, the draft Surrogacy Bill, 2016 aims at regulating commissioning of surrogacy in the country in a proper manner. 

Official sources said the Cabinet gave its green signal to the Bill to be introduced in Parliament. A Group of Ministers (GoM) had recently cleared the bill and had referred it to the Union Cabinet for a final call. 

The GoM was constituted at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office. Apart from Health Minister J P Nadda, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal were among those part of the GoM.

The government had recently said in Parliament that provisions are being made in the draft Bill to make parentage of children born out of surrogacy “legal and transparent”.

(Feature image source: Reuters)