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Wombs on rent no more: Centre for Social Research

Jul 17, 2013

A study by the Centre for Social Research points out that the lack of legislations has led to the proliferation of an unregulated industry.

A report released by the Centre for Social Research (CSR) today has castigated the government for not coming up with proper legislations to govern an industry around surrogacy that is now mushrooming in the country, making India a rent-a-womb destination. The CSR study, entitled ‘Surrogacy Motherhood: Ethical or Commercial?’ is supported by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Advocating for a rights-based framework, it calls for making legal provisions to safeguard the interests of the surrogate mother, the child, or the commissioning parents.“The unregulated reproductive tourism industry of ‘procreating’ through surrogacy is mushrooming in India, even while there is no legal provision to safeguard the interests of the surrogate mother, the child, or the commissioning parents,” the report says.“Surrogacy is becoming an underground industry as there is no monitoring or any legal reforms to ensure that no crucial issue is left out relating to surrogacy arrangements,” said CSR director, Dr Ranjana Kumari.

Calling for a ban on surrogacy, she  said, “There should be no monetary transactions except for the medications provided to the surrogate mothers.”

"Due to the commercialisation of surrogacy, the plight of the surrogate mother and the unborn child is often ignored," she pointed out. "A clearly defined law needs to be drafted immediately which will pronounce in detail the Indian government's stand on surrogacy, so that discrete activity leading to exploitation of the surrogate mother can be stopped."

Dr. Manasi Mishra, Head of CSR’s Research and Knowledge Management, spoke of her findings that point out how surrogacy has now become a viable source of income for poor women.

Quoting the husband of one of the surrogates, she said that the money earned from surrogacy is utilized for meeting familiy priorities.

But the challenges of surrogacy, compounded by the lack of any laws, remian and people are finding innovative methods to circumvent the law, according to the CSR team.

Worse, the scientific technological advancements have also meant that commissioning parents are not only looking for women to surrogate for their children, but are also keen on customising their babies as they look for features, like the colour of the child’s eyes.

The health issues too remain untouched, much to the disadvantage of the surrogate mothers, the CSR team explained, especially as the package does not compensate her for any unforseen complications regarding her mental, sexual or gynaecological health.

In the meanwhile, there have also been issues regarding the health of infants who are snatched away from their surrogate mothers, especially as they are deprived of mother’s meal as parents are in a haste to hold their babies in their arms.

According to a recently released study reported in the The New York Times, points ot an increased development in the white matter regions of the brain, including areas associated with planning, social and emotional functioning, motor ability and language.

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