New Delhi, Oct 15: "You (Government) are allowing trading of human embryo," the Supreme Court has observed, saying commercial surrogacy should not be allowed but was still going on unabated as 'business' in the country without any legal sanctity.
A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana expressed concern that various issues related to commercial surrogacy are not covered under the law but the practice was still continuing. "Commercial surrogacy should not be allowed but it is going on in the country.
You are allowing trading of human embryo. It is becoming a business and has evolved into surrogacy tourism," the bench, which refused to stay the 2013 notification, said.
The apex court asked the government to bring commercial surrogacy within the ambit of law. It asked the government to clarify whether a woman who donates her egg in commercial surrogacy can be said to be the only mother or both surrogate and genetic mother can be said to be mothers of the child.
The bench also asked the Centre whether commercial surrogacy amounts to economic and psychological exploitation of the surrogate mother and whether the practice is inconsistent with dignity of womanhood.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the bench that a surrogacy bill was being deliberated upon to regulate the issue and bill would be introduced in Parliament very soon. In 2013, the Centre issued a notification allowing import of human embryos for artificial reproduction paving the way for foreign couples to bring in frozen human embryos and rent a surrogate womb in India.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Jayashree Wad who said the country has virtually become a "baby factory" as a large number of foreign couples have been coming to India in search of surrogate mothers.