Surrogacy in India: the Darker and Brighter Sides

Topics: Surrogacy, Sperm donation, Assisted reproductive technology Pages: 19 (7018 words) Published: April 3, 2011

The advent of new scientific reproductive technologies has conjured up novel and seemingly intractable normative debates about bioethics and contemporary values in the field of family law. Surrogacy, incontrovertibly, is the most controversial of them all. Surrogacy in modern times is a much talked about issue. From a mere reproductive technology it has moved on to be a huge money-making industry that has its roots spread all over the world. Wish to have an offspring is the most cherished dream in the lives of human beings. Literally meaning ‘substitute’, surrogacy occurs when a woman agrees to give birth to a particular child and hand it over to a contracted party.

Surrogacy is an arrangement whereby a person is appointed to act in place of another. More colloquially a surrogate is a thing that acts for, or takes place of, another. A surrogate is a substitute.

Surrogacy is a method of reproduction whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant and deliver a child for a contracted party. She may be the child's genetic mother (the more traditional form of surrogacy), or she may, as a gestational carrier, carry the pregnancy .

Kinds of Surrogacy:

Traditionally, there was only one type of surrogacy that we know about. It involve the surrogate becoming pregnant with her own biological child with the intention of giving it up to be raised by others. But the most controversial from of surrogacy is known as the gestational surrogacy. In such cases the surrogate becomes pregnant by the embryo transfer with a child she is not biologically related to. While a few surrogates do not receive any financial reward for the pregnancy (altruistic surrogacy), most of the surrogate mothers receive money to carry the child to maturity in their wombs known as ‘commercial Surrogacy’. This method is mostly resorted to by people with sound economic background. C o m m e r c i a l surrogacy in particular and surrogacy in general has been in the centre of storm for quite a long time. The reasons for this is very complex. In a traditional society, reproduction has always been the unity of genetic, gestational and biological forces. A child has traditionally had a mother who is both genetic and gestational and a farther who is genetic as well as biological. The intrusion of surrogate in this traditional arrangement deconstructs the unity of the forces of reproduction. A child in such cases often ends up with different biological as well as rearing parents. The conflict created due to this has both legal and moral sides. This is because surrogacy involves a set of practices and relationships, in which social meaning, psychological questions and legal rights are not properly defined. Legal conflict surrounding surrogacy arises from the fact that in most countries the woman giving birth, i.e. the surrogate, is assumed to be the legal mother of the child. In nations like Georgia, France, India, Israel (where gestational surrogacy for heterosexual couples has been legalised), The Netherlands, Belgium and in some states of the USA (where commercial surrogacy has been legalised), there are ample legal provisions to recognise genetic parents as legal parents of the child. But in the countries like Australia, Canada, Japan and in some states of the USA, commercial surrogacy is either illegal or banned.

Surrogacy stories abound in mythological texts. Three Olympic gods could be considrerd part of the early surrogacy story. Zeus, the father of the gods, was born into a surrogacy arrangemen. His parents were two of the original Titans- Cronus and Rhea- who were themselves the children of an incestuous relationship between Gaea and her son Uranus. In the United States Attorney Noel Keane is generally recognized as the creator of the legal idea of surrogate motherhood. the issue of surrogacy was widely publicised in the case of Baby M, in which the...
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