Wednesday, 11 June 2014

India can learn from kenya in drafting progressive Surrogacy laws!!

The Kenyan Reproductive Health Care Bill 2014, sponsored by nominated senator Judith Sijeny was printed and published by the Government Printer last month and could be debated any time this week.
This Bill, if passed, could be the most comprehensive and progressive reproductive laws anywhere in the world.
It may be the first legislation in Kenya to recognise that children as young as ten are sexually active and goes ahead to suggest that they need access to comprehensive reproductive health services and products.
“In the provision of reproductive health services to adolescents, parental consent is not mandatory,” suggests the senator.
The proposal assures health workers that nothing prevents them from referring an adolescent who has sought reproductive health services to a qualified person for provision of necessary services and products.
Surrogacy for Single men and women
The Bill which has several clauses replicated and others contradicting the Health Bill 2014 prepared by the Ministry of Health has interesting provisions for those willing to remain single parents.
A single adult man or woman will be able to commission a surrogate mother to carry a pregnancy and deliver a baby for them. Such a person, would, if a woman, for example, identify a sperm donor or ‘withdraw’ some from the sperm bank at Kenyatta National Hospital and get into a written agreement with a willing woman to carry the pregnancy.
Surrogacy  AGREEMENT
The Bill, just like the proposed Health Bill 2014, has a lot to say about surrogacy and goes further to describe what a ‘womb renting’ agreement would look like.
For example, if the person commissioning a surrogacy is in a marriage or steady union, both parties must sign the agreement. The proposal also makes it possible for married women or those in a stable relationship to rent out their wombs.
If the husband of such a woman fails to permit the wife to rent her womb out, she can ignore the man and sign the agreement.
“Where a husband or partner of a surrogate mother unreasonably withholds his consent, the other parties shall proceed to sign the agreement and it shall be valid,” says the Bill.
A woman, who has rented out her womb, cannot claim payment but is entitled to reimbursement of expenses directly related to the pregnancy or loss of earnings occasioned by the surrogacy.
The bill suggests that trained health workers may terminate a pregnancy if the health or life of the woman is in danger but must have the consent of the woman. In case of a minor such termination can only be done in consultation with the parents or guardian.
Anybody who terminates a pregnancy without the consent of the woman and in case of a minor, a go-ahead from a guardian, risks going to jail for up to three years.
Comparing with the current Indian scenario where the MHA regulations have directly contradicted the proposed ART bill by the ICMR by retrospectively banning Single Men and Women from accessing surrogacy in India,the Kenyan draft bill seems very progressive and friendly towards the rights of all parties involved in third party reproduction.
As i have been saying along the last government headed by Sonia Gandhi was very regressive in thinking and had strong Anti Development policies and i am confident that the new governement led by Shri Narendra Modi will take note of the restrictions the last governement imposed on Foreigners entering surrogacy arrangements in India will be  lifted shortly.