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    Cabinet approves surrogacy bill; now allows widows, divorcee to be surrogate mothers

    Cabinet approves surrogacy bill; now allows widows, divorcee to be surrogate mothers

    Cabinet approves surrogacy bill; now allows widows, divorcee to be surrogate mothers
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    By CNBC-TV18  IST (Updated)

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    The amended bill is reformed version of the draft legislation which was passed by Lok Sabha in August 2019 but its provisions, including that only a close relative of a couple can be a surrogate mother, had invited criticism.

    The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, which allows widows and divorced women to be surrogate mothers. The Bill, which aims to ensure effective regulation of the surrogacy service, is expected to be introduced in Parliament during the second phase of the Budget Session beginning on March 2.
    The bill incorporated all recommendations made by 23-member Rajya Sabha Select Committee, which studied an earlier version of the draft legislation.
    The amended bill is reformed version of the draft legislation which was passed by Lok Sabha in August 2019 but its provisions, including that only a close relative of a couple can be a surrogate mother, had invited criticism.
    In place of "close relative", the bill has now proposed that the surrogate mother should be "willing" woman.
    The select committee had recommended that not only close relatives but any woman, whether she is a widow or divorcee, who is "willing" should be allowed to act as a surrogate mother, said Union minister Smriti Irani. The bill proposes that only Indian couples, with both partners being of Indian origins, can opt for surrogacy in the country, she addded.
    The bill is aimed at banning commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy, said Union minister Prakash Javadekar.
    The government then agreed to send the bill to a Rajya Sabha select committee, which is headed by BJP MP Bhupender Yadav, for holding wide consultations with various stakeholders and making recommendations.
    The Cabinet has also decided that the insurance cover of the surrogate mother which was proposed for 16 months would be increased to 36 months.
    The bill also proposes to regulate surrogacy by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and, State Surrogacy Board and appropriate authorities in states and Union Territories respectively.
    While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to lndian married couples, Indian-origin married couples and Indian single woman (only widow or divorcee between the age of 35 and 45 years) will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions.
     
    (With inputs from agencies)
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