India cracks down on surrogacy
Is India finally cracking down on surrogacy for foreigners? The blogosphere is abuzz with news of stiff new regulations. Only heterosexual couples who have been married for more than two years will be able to hire surrogate mothers.
Surrogacy must be legal in their home country and they must have a medical visa, not a tourist visa. They have to produce proof from their own embassy that the child will be accepted as their biological child when they return. Only authorised IVF clinics will be able to employ surrogates for foreigners. And gay couples, married or not, are not eligible because gay marriage is not recognised in India.
According to a memo from the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Mumbai, the India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, the police will be liable if a foreigner violates these restrictions. Violations could land the parents in jail.
According to Australian surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page, the restrictions are already having an effect. He told ABC News that most Australians who have engaged surrogate mothers in India were de facto couples, singles, or gay couples. Mr Page says the majority of people who went to India before the law was changed were not married. “I believe instead of about 200 children a year being born to Australian-intended parents a year, it will be down to five or 10,” he said.
The regulations have not been widely publicised, but they follow surrogacy scandals which have made headlines in India. Commissioning parents from countries like Ireland, Germany, Norway and Iceland found that their new children were stateless and that they were stranded and tangled in a bureaucratic nightmare.
Jewish and Christian people view life as a gift from God the Creator, therefore life is sacred and to be respected and cared for. While many may believe that surrogacy is a “good deed” being done on behalf of a couple who cannot have a child on their own, there are many problems with surrogacy that are not being openly discussed.
Some of the more obvious problems are that women are becoming tools for reproduction, objects to be “bought” for a certain amount of money and used to reproduce. Women in poor nations (as well as in other nations) are most likely to be victimized in the process of seemingly obtaining “easy money.” They may become ill, suffer complications of pregnancy or even die in the process. What guarantees are there that the women are provided proper prenatal care and care after birth if necessary? There are reports of women dying or suffering these complications (in India and elsewhere).
Also, there is an epidemic of human trafficking in the world and some women are being enslaved not only as sex slaves, but also surrogacy slaves which is one of the worst crimes that could be done to a woman imaginable.
What about the question of what exactly is being implanted into the woman who volunteers to be a surrogate? The in vitro process of combining sperm with the woman’s oocyte may be done as imagined, or something other than the prospective father’s sperm might be used. Genetic experimentation is booming around the world, especially in the field of artificial reproduction which is largely unregulated. There is no guarantee that the embryo implanted into the woman surrogate is the product of the prospective parents (and not genetically engineered in some way).
In addition, especially from the Jewish and Christian view that life is sacred, one must consider the number of embryos created any time artificial reproduction is utilized. If the prospective parents create several embryos in the process of hoping to obtain one child, the other embryos are definitely discarded at some point, meaning they are killed (as they are each and every one a viable human life that is capable of becoming an adult human, just like any of us once were).
So, surrogacy seems a wonderful thing, but can involve processes that include the killing of embryos, the trafficking of women for the purpose of surrogacy, illness and death for some who suffer complications and other problems. It is not so simple as one might imagine.
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– Dr, Dianne Irving