Surrogacy : Introduction & Myths
The announcement of Priyanka Chopra having a baby through surrogacy invited a lot of flak and questioned her right to motherhood. Here is Dr. Meenu Vashisht, Consultant, Birla Fertility & IVF, sheds light on the surrogacy and its aspects…
What does surrogacy mean? How does it work?
Surrogacy means a practice whereby one woman bears and gives birth to a child for an intending married couple or intending woman with the intention of handing over such child to the intending couple or woman after the birth. It generally requires a legal agreement (as laid down in the laws of the land) to be undertaken between the biological parents and the surrogate before opting for the process.
As per Surrogacy Act 2021(with effect from 25 December 2021)
Altruistic surrogacy- It is the only form of surrogacy allowed in India as per law. It means surrogacy in which no charges, expenses, fees, remuneration or monetary incentive of whatever nature except the medical expenses and such other prescribed expenses incurred on surrogate mother and the insurance coverage (for a period of 36 months) for the surrogate mother, are given to the surrogate mother or her dependents or her representative. A couple of Indian origin or an intending woman who intends to avail surrogacy shall obtain a certificate of recommendation from District Medical Board. The intending couple should be married and between the age of 23 to 50 years in case of a female and between 26 to 55 years in case of male. The intending couple should have NOT had any surviving child biologically or through adoption or through surrogacy earlier. Commercial surrogacy is no longer allowed in India.
Why do parents decide to take this route?
The most common reason for women having to opt for surrogacy is either due to getting a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus),congenital mullerian anomalies like absence of uterus from birth, excessively damaged endometrium due to TB or repeated curettage presence of intrauterine adhesions or having unstable medical conditions like severe heart disease that make it riskier for you to conceive a baby. However now as per Surrogacy Act 2021,a certificate of a medical indication in favour of either or both members of the intending couple or intending woman necessitating gestational surrogacy from a District Medical Board is required.
Who is eligible to becoming a surrogate :
Before becoming a surrogate, there are various tests a woman needs to undergo to check the fertility status and all infectious diseases are tested for . Ideally, a woman who is 25 to 35 years of age can opt to be a surrogate only once in her lifetime, she should be married (or should have married at least once in her life). She should be having a child of her own .Along with the above, a fitness test certifying appropriate psychological and medical wellbeing should be undertaken from a registered medical practitioner.
What are some myths associated with surrogacy that you’d like to dispel?
It will be difficult to bond with the baby: While it is true that pregnancy creates a unique bond between the mother and the child, who is to say that the same bond can’t be established once the baby is born? When talking about surrogacy, this is one of the most talked about topics. Once the child is born through surrogacy, they are immediately handed over to the intended couple(parents) or intended woman so that they bond with their child.
What if the surrogate mother wants to keep the baby? It cannot be done as per law of the land. While it is common for surrogate mothers to feel connected to the child they deliver, a child born out of surrogacy procedure shall be deemed to be a biological child of the intending couple or intending woman and the said child is entitled to all the rights and privileges available to a natural child.
Why is society so judgemental about surrogacy, the surrogate mother and the mother who opts for surrogacy?
The cultural conditioning in India makes it difficult to accept surrogacy as a method to bring forth a child. Also lack of proper knowledge of the process limits couples to seek treatment.
Namrata Gulati Sapra is a passionate part time journalist blogger and a fulltime passionate mommy, whose journey in motherhood is nothing like she expected it to be, she believes. When she isn't blogging or mommying, she is enjoying her cuppa and Netflixing!
Dr. Meenu Vashisht Ahuja is currently a consultant at Birla Fertility and IVF,Delhi. She was previously a visiting Consultant at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh and Jaipur Golden Hospital, Rohini. Her special interests are handling infertility cases and procedures as IUI, IVF, and ICSI
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.