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Follow ICMR rules for surrogacy: Panel

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DNA Correspondent    05 April 2018

The Maharashtra Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) has recommended strict implementation of the guidelines prescribed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for those who want to have a child through surrogacy until the bill on surrogacy laws was passed by Parliament.

The recommendation came as part of an order while hearing the complaint of a 43-year-old woman, who was abandoned by her husband after he had a male child through surrogacy, without his wifes consent. In a 17-page order, the commission asked the State to set up a task force to monitor the implementation of guidelines and to tighten the supervision of hospitals facilitating delivery of children through surrogacy.

Advocate Anjali Pawar, from the Pune-based NGO Against Child Trafficking, said that commercial surrogacy itself should be banned as surrogate mothers are used as money minting machines. "There is so much emphasis on norms for organ donation. But when a womans womb is being sold, who takes responsibility for what she undergoes?" said Pawar.

She emphasised that ICMR guidelines are not followed. "So many couples raise specific requests — the number of children they want, gender, etc. There is no regulation whatsoever," she said.

The MCPCR has also asked people, including actors, desiring a child through surrogacy, surrogate mothers and egg/sperm donors to register themselves with clinics or hospitals.

The medical institutions have to, in turn, be registered with an appropriate government authority.

It also asked the state government to set up a task force and a monitoring cell — comprising officers from the health and police departments, and representatives of reputed NGOs — to keep an eye on the implementation of ICMRs guidelines.

"Our commission had received complaints about the misuse of surrogacy in the absence of clear cut regulations," said Pravin Ghuge, chairperson, Child Rights Commission. "So, we observed the ICMR guidelines and found that it would be better to follow them while the bill is pending in Parliament."

ICMR guidelines

In 2002, ICMR laid out guidelines for surrogacy, which made the practice legal, but did not give it legislative backing. Some guidelines include registration of clinics, following SOPs in the whole process, ethical considerations etc.

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