Center Mandates 3-Year Health Insurance Plan for Surrogate Mothers

The government has issued new rules on surrogacy, requiring couples wishing to become parents through surrogacy to subscribe to health insurance schemes for surrogate mothers.

In a notification to the Official Gazette published on June 21, the Union Department of Health outlined the requirements and qualifications to run a surrogacy clinic as well as the prescribed format of a consent form and the referral form. application for registration of a surrogacy clinic and the couple who intends to benefit from surrogacy.

According to the new provisions, future couples will have to take out general health insurance cover in favor of a surrogate mother for a period of 36 months with an insurance company or an agent recognized by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) for an amount sufficient to cover all expenses for all complications arising from pregnancy and also covering complications of postpartum delivery.

In accordance with the Regulation of Surrogacy Act 2021, insurance means an agreement whereby a company, individual or intended couple undertakes to provide a guarantee of compensation for medical expenses, health, specified loss, damage, sickness or death of a surrogate mother and other prescribed expenses incurred for such surrogate mother during the surrogacy process.

“The government has also ensured that the number of attempts of any surrogacy procedure on the surrogate does not exceed three times. A surrogate mother may be permitted to have an abortion during the surrogacy process under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 in case of complication as advised by doctors,” he said.

Each private surrogacy clinic must apply for registration for a fee of 2 lakh which is non-refundable. However, facilities under government-run institutes are exempt from these charges.

“A copy of the registration certificate must be displayed by the registered surrogacy clinic in a conspicuous place in its facility. Surrogacy clinics must have at least one gynecologist, anesthetist, embryologist and counselor,” the notification reads.

“Surrogacy has many dimensions. The couple must have been married for more than five years. This is an exceptional initiative that will help women undergoing surrogacy. Globally, one in six couples face difficulties in conceiving like drugs, IVF and surrogacy,” said Dr. Archana Dhawan Bajaj, IVF Expert and Director of Nurture IVF Clinic in New Delhi .

“Under the 2022 surrogacy rules, a surrogate mother must give consent through an agreement to relinquish all rights over the child and must return the child or children to the intended couple. , or to a person (may be named by the intending couple) in the event of separation during her pregnancy or in the event of the death of both, or to the survivor in the event of the death of one of the intending couples during the pregnancy, as soon as she is cleared to do so by the hospital or clinic or nursing home where the child or children are delivered,” said Siddharth Malkania, a senior lawyer in Delhi.

Another IVF expert, Dr Priyanka Arya of Nodia-based Curis Multispeciality Clinic, said health insurance coverage for 36 months which includes postpartum expenses for the surrogate mother is a long time as it will burden unnecessarily the couple of intention.

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