Renting a womb or surrogacy has gained much prominence in recent years.
It is a delicate situation as a surrogate mother nurtures the child in her womb
for the entire term of pregnancy. Legal issues can arise, if not properly
addressed. Read on to know about the legal issues of renting a womb.
Renting a womb
is alternately known as surrogacy. The word “surrogate” originates from “Surrogatus”, which means a substitute,
that is, an individual is appointed to act in the place of another. Surrogacy
can be defined as a practice where the woman voluntarily becomes pregnant, and
bears a child for a childless couple or woman. She transfers the child to the
other woman shortly after its birth.
In lieu of
this service, the woman receives compensation for bearing and delivering the
baby including all the medical and hospital expenditures. This arrangement
where the practice of surrogacy involves compensation is known as commercial
surrogacy and there is another arrangement which is known as Altruistic
surrogacy. It can be either:
Traditional – Here the surrogate mother is inseminated artificially
with the sperm of the man who intends to be the father.
Gestational – Here an embryo is developed in a Petri dish and
implanted into the womb of the surrogate mother who completes the entire term
of the pregnancy.
Donor – In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother is inseminated
artificially with the sperm not of the intended
father but of a sperm donor. Thereby, there is no genetic relationship between
the baby and the couple who intends to be the parents.
In each of
these above-mentioned surrogacy practices, it is vital that the entire
procedure is legal bound. While renting the womb of the woman who is the
surrogate mother, a proper legal document is created which clearly states the terms
and conditions of the procedure. Both the parties are entitled and legally
bound to fulfil a set of duties during the entire procedure and the term of
Renting a Womb Is Legalised In India and In
Several Other Countries.
It is an
option for couples suffering from infertility, where the woman or the man is unable to go through a
normal pregnancy. Renting
a womb thus comes as a great help for childless
couples. But at the same time, both the surrogate and the woman who wants to
become a mother can be exploited either monetarily or emotionally. Therefore,
it is in the interest of both the parties that the entire procedure of renting
womb takes place under a legal agreement, so that any unforeseen situations can
be dealt with in peace. Especially, in cases where couples or women from abroad
are taking wombs on rent from Indian surrogates.
judiciary recognises the reproductive right as a basic human right. Article
16.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states, “Men and women
of full age without limitation due to race, nationality or religion have the
right to marry and found a family.”
The Legal Issues of Renting a Womb In Brief
- A surrogate mother cannot undertake or asked to undertake embryo transfer from the same woman or parents more than three times, even if the pregnancy fails.
- If the surrogate mother is a married woman, the consent of her husband is necessary.
- When the surrogate mother is an Indian citizen, she cannot be taken abroad to fulfil the tenure of her surrogate pregnancy.
- The identity of the sperm donor must be kept strictly confidential.
- The surrogate mother cannot engage in any activity that is potentially dangerous to the foetus during the entire term of the pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.
- If the baby is born with any congenital defects, the commissioning parents are legally obliged to take the custody of the baby.
In each of these
above-mentioned surrogacy practices, it is vital that the entire procedure is
legal bound. While renting the womb of the woman who is the surrogate mother, a
proper legal document is created which clearly states the terms and conditions
of the procedure. Both the parties are entitled and legally bound to fulfil a
set of duties during the entire procedure and the term of surrogacy.