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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

Centre amends rules for surrogacy, couples now allowed to use egg or sperm from donor

The amended rules will require a district medical board to certify that either the man or the woman is suffering from a medical condition that necessitates the use of a donor’s gamete

G.S. Mudur New Delhi Published 24.02.24, 05:36 AM
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The Centre has amended rules for surrogacy to allow couples to use an egg or sperm from a donor if one of the partners is suffering from a medical condition.

The amended rules will require a district medical board to certify that either the man or the woman is suffering from a medical condition that necessitates the use of a donor’s gamete.

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A February 21 gazette notification from the Union health ministry effectively reverses a March 14, 2023, notification that had specified that a couple opting for surrogacy “must have both gametes from the intending couple and donor gametes (are) not allowed”.

Surrogacy is a form of assisted reproductive service in which a woman carries the pregnancy for another couple.

Under the revised rules, when a district medical board “certifies that either the husband or wife constituting the intending couple suffers from a medical condition necessitating the use of donor gamete, then surrogacy using donor gamete is allowed”.

The donor gamete will be allowed on the condition that the child born through surrogacy must have at least one gamete from the intending couple. The rules also say a single woman (widow or divorcee) who is opting for surrogacy must use self-eggs and donor sperm for the surrogacy procedure.

The amendment comes after the Supreme Court had last year questioned the earlier rules while hearing petitions from several women. “The very purpose of surrogacy would get defeated by such rules,” the apex court had observed in December last year while permitting more than two dozen petitioners to use donor eggs to become mothers through surrogacy, a PTI report said on Friday.

The Supreme Court had in January this year asked the Centre why it was not taking a decision despite many women approaching the court with grievances about the earlier rules. The Centre, represented by additional solicitor-general Aishwarya Bhati, had said last month that the government was reconsidering the surrogacy rules notified in 2023.

Doctors on Friday applauded the amendment saying it removes an unnecessary barrier to surrogacy and would help more couples opt for the procedure. “Now, if one member of a couple, either the husband or the wife, is unable to produce a gamete, the couple can go for surrogacy,” said Jyoti Bunglowala, a gynaecologist in Indore and chair of the ethics and medico-legal committee of the Federation of the Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India.

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