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Lok Sabha passes Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill amid disruptions

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New Delhi, Dec 19: The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 passed in Lok Sabha Wednesday allows only altruistic surrogacy by infertile Indian couples, legally married for at least five years. Surrogacy is an arrangement where a couple commissions a woman (called a surrogate) to carry their child.

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The surrogacy (regulation) bill was passed after an hour long debate amid noisy protests by Congress and AIADMK members over various issues.

He said different sections of society, political parties, the Supreme Court and the Law Commission have spoken against commercial surrogacy and that the bill addresses these concerns.

Though Members of different parties who spoke during the debate supported the bill, some including Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool Congress and Supriya Sule (NCP) exhorted the government to expand its scope.

Nadda said the aim of the bill was to stop commercial surrogacy but at the same time save families by allowing them to have children by using modern science.

Only defined mother and family can avail of surrogacy and the same was not permitted for live-in partners or single parents, he said.

The rules and regulations of the law will define close relatives, he added. The bill also has penal provision for misuse of surrogacy.

India had become a hub of commercial surrogacy and surrogate mothers also suffered from exploitation.

According to the bill, only childless couples, legally married for at least five years, are allowed to commission surrogacy, from a woman who is a "close relative" of the couple. Singles or those in a homosexual relationship cannot apply for surrogacy. The child, thus born, will be deemed to be the legal offspring of the intended couple.

As the bill restricts surrogacy by only a "close relative", couples who do not have a large "close" family - or members in it who might be willing to be surrogates for them - cannot have a baby through surrogacy. The only available option for them will then be adoption.

Only a married blood relative, who must have herself borne a child, and is not an NRI or a foreigner, can be a surrogate mother, that too once in a lifetime.

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