ART Bill 2010

ART Bill_2010


It is estimated that 15 percent of couples around the world are infertile. This impliesthat infertility is one of the most highly prevalent medical problems. The magnitudeof the infertility problem also has enormous social implications. Besides the fact thatevery couple has the right to have a child, in India infertility widely carries with it asocial stigma. In the Indian social context specially, children are also a kind of old-age insurance.With the enormous advances in medicine and medical technologies, today 85percent of the cases of infertility can be taken care of through medicines, surgeryand/or the new medical technologies such as
in vitro
fertilization (IVF) orintracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). It may be recalled that the birth of the firstchild, Louise Brown in 1978, through the technique of in vitro fertilization by RobertG Edwards and Patrick Steptoe, was a path-breaking step in control of infertility; it is,in retrospect, considered as one of the most important medical advances of the lastcentury.Most of the new technologies aimed at taking care of infertility, involve handling ofthe gamete – spermatozoa or the ooctye – outside the body; they also often involvethe donation of spermatozoa or oocyte, or the use of a surrogate mother who wouldbe carrying a child with whom she has no biological relationship. Thesetechnologies not only require expertise but also open up many avenues for unethicalpractices which can affect adversely the recipient of the treatment, medically,socially and legally.The last nearly 20 years have seen an exponential growth of infertility clinics thatuse techniques requiring handling of spermatozoa or the oocyte outside the body, orthe use of a surrogate mother. As of today, anyone can open infertility or assistedreproductive technology (ART) clinic; no permission is required to do so. There hasbeen, consequently a mushrooming of such clinics around the country.In view of the above, in public interest, it has become important to regulate thefunctioning of such clinics to ensure that the services provided are ethical and thatthe medical, social and legal rights of all those concerned are protected.The bill details procedures for accreditation and supervision of infertility clinics (andrelated organizations such as semen banks) handling spermatozoa or oocytesoutside of the body, or dealing with gamete donors and surrogacy, ensuring that thelegitimate rights of all concerned are protected, with maximum benefit to the infertilecouples/individuals within a recognized framework of ethics and good medicalpractice.

Some Feature of ART Draft - 2010

With the advancement of science and technology, many things that were considered impossible in the past, have become a routine part of life. Although not that popular and routine, birth of baby through a surrogate mother has also become fairly common thing. Especially countries like India are becoming an attraction for surrogate pregnancies and the tourist and historical monuments in this country is giving popularity to a new type of tourism that is surrogate tourism. Intended parents from all over the world visit this country, not to just look and admire the rich cultural heritage of this country, but to get the benefit of easy availability of surrogate mothers, cheaper cost and flexible rules and judiciary guidelines for surrogacy in India.

There was a draft ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) bill that was presented in 2010 covers most of the aspects widely and there are few salient points of this bill.

» The process of surrogacy and giving the womb on rent, as it is popularly called is completely legal in India. Charging financial reimbursement for carrying the baby of an Indian or foreign couple would be absolutely legal.

» The bill defines the term ‘couple’ as two people living together and a sexual relationship that is legal according to Indian legislation. Since court has already given verdict in favor of homosexuality, a gay or lesbian couple can also
go for surrogacy and it will be termed legal.

» The age of surrogate mother has to be 21 to 35. The maximum number of ‘live births’ allowed for her would be maximum five, including her own children. The number of donations would be not greater than six in the entire lifetime.

» In case of single parent opting for surrogacy, the baby will be legitimate child of him or her.

» In case the intended parents are engaged in a live-in relationship then the child would be legitimate child of both.

» Intended couple would bear the complete cost of pregnancy and pay remuneration to the surrogate mother. They may sign a contractual obligation under Indian legislation.

» In case of the intended couple being a foreign national, they have to submit the surrogacy policy of their country and a certificate regarding nationality of the surrogate child post birth. They also have to nominate a local guardian to take care of surrogate mother during pregnancy.

» Government certified ART banks would store complete details of surrogates and donors. The certification to ART banks would be given by state boards. This independent body would have authority to register, maintain and monitor the functioning.

» The determination of the sex of baby and ‘selective childbirth through surrogacy’ is illegal.

» Surrogacy as a medium of pregnancy and childbirth would be considered legal for the couples that otherwise, proved to be incapable of giving birth to a child and it is not a ‘convenient mode’ of having a baby without readiness of bearing pain of pregnancy and delivery.

» Commercial use of surrogacy for cloning or mass production would be strictly prohibited.

The above features provide a broad guideline regarding surrogacy. However, there is a need of stringent law and legislation regarding surrogacy to protect the rights of surrogate mother, intended parents and most importantly the surrogate baby.