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Why not allow single women to opt for child by surrogacy? Supreme Court seeks govt reply

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      Dec 06, 2023      0 Comments
Why not allow single women to opt for child by surrogacy Supreme Court seeks govt reply

The Supreme Court will examine the plea whether an unmarried woman can avail the option of having children through surrogacy and sought response of the Centre.

A bench of justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan issued a notice to the Centre on a petition filed by a practising lawyer Neeha Nagpal who said that the law impacts the right to reproduction and motherhood of a woman and denies them right to have a meaningful family life.

The bench said that a single woman bearing a child is an exception and not a rule in Indian society and questioned whether a single woman having a child through surrogacy could be an "accepted norm" in Indian society.

The plea challenges Section 2(1)(s) of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, which defines "intending woman," specifically excluding unmarried women (not widowed or divorced) from availing surrogacy. It also contests Form 2 under Rule 7 of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Rules, 2022, and an Amendment Notification dated March 14, 2023, which mandates that single women undergoing surrogacy must use their own eggs.

"The petitioner wants to secure her right of availing surrogacy and experience motherhood on her terms without state's interference in her private life. The petitioner has a right to reproduction and motherhood even without entering a marriage," the petition said.

"The prohibition on any monetary compensation/ consideration to the surrogate mother effectively makes it impossible for the petitioner to find a surrogate mother. The law, instead of seeking to regulate surrogacy, in effect bans it by imposing the requirement of altruistic surrogacy," the petition further reads.

It is noted that the apex court is already examining the validity of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 and the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 (ART Act), as well Rules framed under each Act.

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