Taslima Nasreen recently tweeted about surrogacy and her tweets created quite a furor. She used words like “readymade babies” and questioned whether the mother has the same feeling towards a child born through surrogacy as she has for a biological child. She questioned the concept of surrogacy and attributed it to poverty.
The good and the bad
Surrogacy on the face of it looks highly immoral. However, people who are not able to have offspring on their own can use this method to become parents. Taslima questioned the need of having one’s own children instead of adopting to selfish narcissistic ego. Well, I slightly beg to differ. If someone is not able to have children on medical grounds, and uses surrogacy, I would not call the person narcissist. I would not call that person anything. One good question can be, “What if someone wants to use surrogacy even if he/she is perfectly healthy?”. The answer to that would be “do not allow that”. And how do we not allow something. By creating a legal framework around it.
Surrogacy in India: What the law says?
Surrogacy in India is highly regulated. Commercial surrogacy which means that the surrogate mother receives compensation, is banned. This ensures that the rich do not resort to surrogacy other than on medical grounds. This also ensures that surrogacy is not a commercial business and is an act of altruism. The law also mandates that the surrogate mother must be a close relative of the would-be parents and the law seeks a “certificate of essentiality” from the would-be parents. Essentially, the law ensures that surrogacy is not misused, and that we do not legitimize the business of renting embryos. I think the heart of the law is in right place.
Were Taslima Nasreen’s comment uncalled for?
Yes, they were. I understand Taslima was lamenting about the social divide. She was concerned about the commercialization of surrogacy. Though the law tries hard that it is only altruistic surrogacy, that is allowed to flourish, and has checks and balances in place, we know that there are ways to get around the law and, in a world, which is so divided between rich and poor, doing that is not really difficult. So, can surrogacy be misused. Yes, it can be. Does it get misused? Yes, it does.
What we need to do?
Surrogacy is a boon for couples who cannot have children. And it is perfectly okay if they want to have their own traits in their children. We shouldn’t call this need a narcissistic urge. We just need to ensure that the law is not bypassed, and that surrogacy is implemented as per the law. The heart of the law seems to be in the right place, and the upholders of it must ensure that it is rightly implemented. And everyone who follows the law is a reasonably good citizen.