The New Draft Surrogacy (Regulations) Bill, 2016 Dr K K Aggarwal 1. Commercial surrogacy is banned in most developed countries, including Australia, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan and Thailand 2. Now the new bill bas it in India too 3. But the bill allows altruistic surrogacy, where women (near relative) can legally carry someone else’s child if no money (other than medical cost and insurance), favour or coercion is involved. 4. Under the proposed law, only infertile Indian couples who have been married for at least five years can opt for surrogacy, while those who already have a child cannot do so. 5. The law that insists that a surrogate woman has to be a close relative of the infertile couple would be "impractical" and may also raise the risk of the surrogacy industry, driven by demand, moving underground, spawning illegal transactions. People will start making fake documents that they are near relatives. 6. The Bill has penalty provisions for those violating the law, when it comes into effect. The penalties include a huge monetary fine (ten lac), and imprisonment (ten years) and even striking down the name from medical register. This will increase paper work. The records will have to be kept for five years and not 2 years. 7. Imprisonment clause is now coming in every new bill PNDT, CEA, Health Data Bill and now surrogacy bills. To err is human. Doctors are not criminals. 8. There will be no role of brokers, agents or inter-mediators and the onus of proof in the case of negligence will be with the clinic and not surrogate or an egg donor. 9. It will effect medical tourism 10. There are more that 50 million infertile couples in the world and their desperation for a biological child has turned commercial surrogacy into a booming business. Thousands of infertile couples rent wombs from poor women for nine months so they can take a baby back home. 11. India has estimated 12 million to 15 million infertile couples 12. Big market for sperm and ova banking, embryo implantation and surrogate womb services. 13. Celebrities also rent wombs 14. An end to commercial surrogacy will be a big blow to many infertile couples. Infertile couples generally do not discuss in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or third-party reproduction (surrogacy) with close relatives. This is kept as secret as possible, particularly from their close family members - so how are they going to find altruistic close relatives. 15. Finding women from within the close family willing to be surrogates will not be easy. Many infertile couples are likely to find themselves in distress. 16. There are medical grounds where surrogacy is justified - imagine a woman who has lost her uterus during childbirth or a woman born without a uterus 17. The proposed surrogacy law might even lead to break-up of marriages. This may lead to an increase in second marriages - if surrogacy is not allowed, some couples are likely to break up.