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International Family Law

The leading authority on international family law

25 MAY 2012

Surrogacy born, law still in womb

Anil Malhotra

With no law in India to prohibit the hiring of a surrogate womb, the practice is flourishing, but people involved often end up in complex legal wrangles. A Bill drafted to regulate the phenomenon has been hanging fire, and has shortcomings too

Surrogacy, a new-age phenomenon in assisted parenthood, is gaining ground fast, what with support from the glamour world too. British pop star Elton John and his Canadian filmmaker partner David Furnish became parents of a baby boy born to a surrogate mother in California while our very own film star Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao obtained a child through surrogacy aided by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Today, the reproductive tourism industry promoting surrogacy in India is estimated at Rs 25,000 crore, promoted by over 2 lakh IVF clinics with websites offering wombs, sperms and eggs. Surrogacy packages which reportedly cost $1,00,000 in Europe or the US, are easily available in India in the range of $10,000. Surprisingly, surrogate hiring of wombs exists in India even though the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, bans the sale of "human organs", loaning of organs and any commercialisation of the trade of human organs. Moreover, surrogates are nowhere as freely available as in India to single parents, gay or unmarried partners, despite the fact that same-sex relationships are not permissible in India. The primordial urge to have a biological child of one's own flesh, blood and DNA, aided with technology and

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