Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Surrogacy and Child Rights

The central government has come out with a bill banning commercial surrogacy. It bans foreigners, single parents, live-in partners and same-sex couples from commissioning surrogacy. The bill allows a married couple to commission surrogacy if after five years of marriage they have no child or the child mentally or physically not fit. The surrogate mother should be a blood relative of the couple and surrogacy should be for altruistic purpose. On 24/8/2016 Sushma Swaraj talked about the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 and Indian ethos.
Many have criticised the bill. Some have a vested interest in continuing commercial surrogacy. They are doctors who have profited from surrogacy business or women who became surrogate mothers for money. Others are seemingly neutral but have their axes to grind. They say all should be able to hire surrogates.
In this controversy child rights are forgotten. People who want surrogacy talk of child as a product and not a human being. They oppose morality of allowing only married couples to have children through surrogacy. Morality does not matter for immoral people, some of them journalists and politicians. Morality matters for many Indians and foreigners. Sometimes couples hire two or more women for surrogacy, and when one child is born ask other women to abort.
What about the right of the child to be breastfed by its biological mother for six months? What happens when a child knows its legal mother is not its biological mother? What happens when a child knows it has two fathers but no mother or two mothers but no father? What happens when a child knows it has a father but no mother and vice versa? What happens when a child knows its legal parents divorced during its gestation? What happens when a child knows it is not a citizen of any country?
There was a girl child who was given in adoption by its mother. A Swedish couple adopted the child. The child grew up and became a woman. That woman wanted to know her biological mother. She harassed a doctor. She went to court. Tushar Gandhi knew the doctor. He wrote to the woman he wished her mother had aborted her. Many children born to surrogate mothers are likely to want to know their biological mothers.
What about the possibility of children of same biological mother but different legal mothers marrying each other? In an American town there was one sperm donor for more than 150 children. He was the doctor of the clinic.
Commercial surrogacy is banned in Canada, France, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
No right is absolute. Right to have a child is not absolute. There should be no surrogate motherhood. Woman who gives birth to the child is the mother. Today it is possible for a woman to give birth by overcoming natural difficulties. There is womb transplant. There is ovary transplant. There is IVF. In spite of all these, if a woman is unable to become a mother so be it. In life, you don’t get everything you want. There is no Fundamental Right to be a parent however much one may twist the Constitution.

Updated: August 30, 2016 — 8:38 am

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