This article on ‘Surrogacy in India: Unveiling its Origins and Diverse Types’ was written by an intern at Legal Upanishad.
In today’s modern world, there has been a lot of technological advancement in almost every field whether it is health, Education, Entertainment, Sports, etc. All these advancements have brought with them both advantages and disadvantages. One of the best examples of such technological advancement is the process of surrogacy, which has brought happiness to many families by providing infertile couples with children. But, as with other technological advancements, the process of surrogacy also has several ulterior consequences for society as a whole along with the surrogate mother and child. Thus, this article will discuss in detail the origin and various kinds of surrogacy all over the globe.
Surrogacy is getting very popular nowadays. Under this process, the couple which is unable to procreate a child hires another woman to carry and deliver a child on their behalf. Thus, under this process couples who are not capable of conceiving a child or giving birth to a child can also have a baby. In this process, the woman who carries the child for another couple is called a surrogate mother. Apart from this, Surrogacy is a complex process that involves medical, legal, and emotional considerations. It often involves a team of medical professionals, including fertility specialists, obstetricians, and psychologists, as well as legal experts to draft contracts that address issues such as custody and financial arrangements.
Origin of Surrogacy
Surrogacy, which has become a popular and widely accepted alternative method of parenthood, has been around for several decades. The origins of surrogacy can be traced back to ancient times when infertility was a common issue, and women were expected to produce children and carry on the family name.
Early references to surrogacy can be found in the Bible, where Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was unable to conceive a child, and she suggested that he have a child with her servant, Hagar. Hagar bore a son, Ishmael, on Sarah’s behalf, and this practice was accepted and considered a valid method of having children in ancient times.
The idea of surrogacy in India was also common in the culture, where a woman known as a “jitni” was employed as a surrogate to carry a child for an infertile couple. This practice was accepted, and the surrogate mother was even considered a part of the family.
However, surrogacy in its modern form only came into existence in the mid-twentieth century when medical advancements made it possible to use technology to aid in the process of creating a child. The first successful pregnancy through in vitro fertilization (IVF) was recorded in 1978, and this marked a turning point in the history of surrogacy.
The first recorded surrogacy arrangement took place in 1976 when lawyer Noel Keane arranged for his friend Elizabeth Kane to become a surrogate mother for a couple who were unable to conceive. This arrangement was called “traditional” surrogacy, where the surrogate mother provides her eggs for fertilization.
However, as the use of IVF became more widespread, a new form of surrogacy called “gestational surrogacy” emerged. In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother carries a child that is not biologically related to her. The eggs and sperm of the intended parents or donors are used to create an embryo, which is then implanted into the surrogate mother’s uterus.
Surrogacy has been a controversial topic in many countries, and the laws surrounding surrogacy differ drastically from country to country. In some countries, it is completely banned, while in others, it is legal but with limitations and regulations.
For example, in the United States, surrogacy is legal, but the laws vary from state to state. Some states allow commercial surrogacy, where the surrogate mother is compensated for her services, while others only allow altruism.
Types of Surrogacies
Now, broadly two types of surrogacies are practiced today, and are becoming more popular, which are as follows:
The first type of surrogacy is Traditional surrogacy and as the name suggests it is the traditional type of surrogacy. Thus, this method has been in use for a long period. In this type of surrogacy, the couple first finds a woman who can carry their baby for them.
Once the woman is selected, she provides her egg, which is then fertilized by the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor. After fertilizing the egg the surrogate mother carries the baby for 9 months and delivers it. After the delivery, the couple takes their child from the surrogate mother. As the surrogate contributes her genetic material to the child, in this process she is also the biological mother of the child.
Gestational surrogacy is different from traditional surrogacy because under this process the genetics of a child are that of the intended couple only. That means, in this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child, and it is instead the intended parents only whose genetics transfer to the child. So, under this system or process the intended parents provide an egg and sperm, which are then fertilized through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Thus, the resulting embryo from the fertilization of the egg and sperm of the intended parents is then implanted into the uterus of the surrogate mother, who carries the pregnancy to term and delivers the baby. In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate is referred to as the gestational carrier, because her genes are not transferred to the child.
Problem with Surrogacy
Though on the face of it, surrogacy in India can seem like a good and beneficial process. Because it provides the infertile couple with a child, which they cannot procreate. But the concept of surrogacy has both pros and cons. Pros of surrogacy are that a couple gets a child and many more. But there is also a need to look into the cons or disadvantages of Surrogacy because after evaluating both advantages and disadvantages only one can conclude whether the process of surrogacy is effective or not.
As there are many disadvantages of Surrogacy nowadays it has become a very controversial topic and the critics of Surrogacy have raised concerns about the exploitation of the surrogate, the commodification of pregnancy and childbirth, and the potential for conflict between the surrogate and the intended parents and many more. As a result of which, there has been the formation of surrogacy laws and regulations around the world to regulate the surrogacy. Moreover, some countries in the world have even banned surrogacy declaring it illegal and thus completely restricting its practice.
Surrogacy is a complex and controversial medical practice that raises several ethical and moral concerns. While surrogacy has helped many individuals and couples to have a biological child, it has also led to the exploitation of women, that is, the surrogate mother, and the commercialization of human reproduction.
There is also concern about the psychological and emotional effects of surrogacy, as well as issues around parental rights, embryo selection, and social stigma. We must continue to examine the ethical and moral issues surrounding surrogacy and work to create more ethical and socially responsible practices around surrogacy. Thus, we should try to solve all the ulterior consequences of surrogacy, then only the process of surrogacy can serve a greater purpose.
List of References:
- Dev, Surrogacy In India, Legal Services India, available at: https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-782-surrogacy-in-india.html#:~:text=Surrogate%20mother%20is%20the%20substitute,intended%20father%20or%20anonymous%20donor
- Types of Surrogacy in India, Fertility world, available at: https://fertilityworld.in/blog/types-of-surrogacy-in-india/
- Sakshi SInha, An Understanding of Surrogacy: A Legal Analysis in Indian Context, SSRN, 13 January 2021, available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3726683