India’s reputation as a source of surrogate mothers has been damaged by allegations of mistreatment and “baby farms”, but legislators are dragging their heels on establishing standards. So the industry has draw up its own.
The Indian Society for Third-Party Assisted Reproduction (INSTAR) includes IVF doctors, lawyers, embryologists and social workers from 15 states to draft moral and ethical guidelines for the Indian surrogacy industry.
“Disturbing reports have been emerging from parts of India about exploitation of surrogates, cheating by agents, poor compensation and no safeguards in cases of death or medical crises. This reflects negatively, not only on the profession, but also on the country as nearly 50% of couples opting for surrogacy in India are based abroad,” says INSTAR president Dr Himanshu Bavishi.
A key provision to protect the impoverished women who become surrogates is to ensure that documents are written in their mother-tongues or a language they can read and understand. Apparently this was not happening before.