Surrogacy stakeholders draw up guidelines
AHMEDABAD: Most of the women driving multimillion-dollar surrogacy industry in India by renting out their wombs to childless couples do so to beat poverty. Often, they are exploited by agents and even risk their lives.
While there is no legal framework enacted - the Assisted (Regulation) Bill, years after it was drafted, is yet to be passed - a handful of stakeholders have formed a society to assure surrogates get basic remuneration, compensation in medical crises and, most importantly, respect for carrying somebody's child for nine months and delivering happiness.
for (INSTAR) has now been formed. Infertility experts, lawyers, embryologists and social workers from 15 states including Gujarat have joined hands to enforce self-imposed moral and ethical guidelines for the welfare of surrogates in India.
"Disturbing reports have been emerging from about exploitation of surrogates, cheating by agents, poor compensation and no safeguards in cases of death or medical crises. This reflects negatively, not only on the profession, but also on the country as nearly 50% of couples opting for surrogacy in India are based abroad," says INSTAR .
Dr Bavishi said that the first scientific meeting of INSTAR was recently held in Assam, where it was decided that each surrogate will be paid a minimum of Rs 2.25 lakh. In the rare case of the death of a surrogate while carrying a commissioning couple's child, her family will be paid Rs 5 lakh at least.
A surrogates also risks medical conditions where fallopian tubes or the uterus may need to be removed. In such cases, they will be paid Rs 25,000 for the removal of tubes and Rs 1 lakh for a hysterectomy.
"It has also been decided that all INSTAR members will follow a system which ensures that documents related to the surrogate are made available in her mother-tongue or a language she can read and comprehend," says Dr Bavishi.
I wonder how they arrived at 500,000 for the death of a surrogate when most surrogacy packages are around 1500,000. This would only work if there was an independent body to oversee that payments actually get to the family in the case of death of a surrogate, which has happened in two cases reported in Indian media.