There’s big news on the Gaysi horizon this week. Big & happy news. Things may get a whole lot easier for gaysis, firangaysis and other gay couples wanting to start a family. While surrogacy is legal in India, we haven’t had a law regulating the process yet. Things may change soon, as the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act (Regulation) Bill, 2010 that is pending review by the Union Cabinet, seeks to legalise commercial surrogacy allows single persons as well as same sex couples legal sanction to have children through surrogacy.
The draft bill if accepted, could bring about a significant change in Indian society, especially with regard to the controversy surrounding surrogacy. The bill which seeks to regulate surrogacy in India (previously surrogacy was more altruistic in nature), provides for single parenthood as well allowing “unmarried couples” from India and abroad to have children using Assisted Reproductive Technology through a surrogate.
While many may construe the term “unmarried couples” to mean unmarried heterosexual couples, this has been left open to interpretation. As per the bill, a couple refers to “two persons living together and having a sexual relationship” and does not refer to the gender of the parties. So by allowing unmarried couples and single persons the right to have children through surrogacy, the bill attempts to recognise live-in relationships, gay relationships & single parenthood.
If a single person seeks to have a child through surrogacy the child is the legitimate child of such person, and if a couple seeks to have a child through the same, the child is the legitimate child of the couple. The implications of the same are that in the event that a couple (whether married or unmarried) separate or are divorced even before the child is born, but both parties have consented to using assisted reproductive technology, the child shall be considered as the legitimate child of both parties.
While the object behind the Bill is clearly to ease matters for married couples, efforts have been made to allow other kinds of couples as well as single persons the option to begin a family.