Social Issues

What Is The Nayanthara-Surrogacy Controversy All About? Indian Surrogacy Laws Explained!

Are the controversies needed?

On Sunday, Vignesh Shivan took the Internet by storm when he announced that Nayanthara and him have become parents to twin boys. “Nayan & Me have become Amma & Appa ❤️We are blessed with Twin Baby Boys❤️❤️ All Our prayers,our ancestors’ blessings combined wit all the good manifestations made, have come 2gethr in the form Of 2 blessed babies for us❤️😇 Need all ur blessings for our Uyir😇 & Ulagam😇 Life looks brighter & more beautiful 😍God is double great 🥰❤️☺️😇😍😍😌😌😌😌,” he shared on Instagram.

As soon as he made the announcement, many speculated and reported that the couple should have gone through surrogacy for the birth of their twins. However, the couple did not explicitly announce that they went for surrogacy. It is an assumption as Nayanthara was not seen to be pregnant anytime recently. It is to be noted that it has been only four months since the two got married. The couple tied the knot on June 9th, 2022.

Now, people have started calling out the couple that they have gone against the law by opting for surrogacy. The problem came to the limelight first when Actress Kasthuri said that “Surrogacy was banned in India”. Then questions were posed to Health Minister Ma Subramaniam about the same who said that an enquiry would be conducted to find out if the procedure was carried out legally or illegally. Let us now understand the Surrogacy law in India.

 

  • What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to delivery/labour for another person or people, who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth. The mother who gives birth on behalf of the real parents is called a surrogate.

It is to be noted that commercial surrogacy is banned for all kinds of purposes including sale, prostitution and any other forms of exploitation. After birth, the child is considered to be the biological child of the couple for all intents and purposes.

 

  • Is Commercial Surrogacy Allowed in India?

In India, commercial surrogacy was allowed until a new law – The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 was passed in December 2021 and came into effect on January 25, 2022. Replacing commercial surrogacy, altruistic surrogacy was introduced.

Altruistic surrogacy was introduced in December 2021. It means that no remuneration or monetary incentive would be provided to the surrogate, except the medical expenses. As per the new rules, a surrogate mother has to be genetically related to the couple.

 

  • Who can opt for Surrogacy?

The new rules state that other than a couple who have  a ‘medical indication necessitating gestational surrogacy’, only an Indian woman who is a divorcee or a widow between the age of 35 to 45 years can opt for surrogacy. In addition to this, the law also states that a couple should be married for a minimum of 5 years to be eligible to go for surrogacy.
The Centre and State governments constituted a National Surrogacy Board (NSB) and State Surrogacy Boards (SSB) respectively, tasked with enforcing standards for surrogacy clinics, investigating breaches and recommending modifications. Further, surrogacy clinics need to apply for registration within 60 days of the appointment of the appropriate authority.
  • What are the offences?

According to the surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021, any couple who takes a baby through commercial surrogacy will be punished with a fine of up to Rs 50,000 rupees as well as imprisonment of 5 years. If the couple commits the same offence multiple times, the fine may be extended up to Rs 1 lakh along with imprisonment of 10 years. Any individual, organization, or clinic that gets involved in the exploitation of surrogate mothers or children born via surrogacy will face imprisonment of up to ten years, along with a Rs 10 lakhs fine.

  • Are Nayanthara and Vignesh Shivan in trouble?

While people have been talking a lot about the couple, they have still not confirmed if they have opted for surrogacy to give birth to their children. In addition, the couple have been in a live-in relationship for more than 5 years, and now live-in relationships are considered as valid as a marriage. Therefore, it is unnecessary and almost too early to say anything about the couple’s decision. It is rather better to just congratulate them, and be well wishers celebrating their happy news!

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